UPDATE: ACC Now spoke with Davis' father, Terry Davis who cited a potential lockout of NBA players by the owners following the 2010-11 season as a compelling factor in the decision to declare now. Davis' fear was that if he stayed for his junior season he would be unable to leave for the NBA and therefore be forced to play his senior season. I suppose there are worse things that could happen but apparently the lockout prospect was enough to risk entering the draft with the probability of being a lottery pick up in the air due to the wrist.
I kind of thought it might be heading this way when Larry Drew announced his return and Ed Davis did not. Davis officially enters the NBA Draft:
"I've had two great years at North Carolina both as a player and a student and now I want to pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA," says Davis. "I love being a Tar Heel and am proud to know that I will always be part of this unique family. I want to thank Coach Williams for giving me the opportunity to play for Carolina. My coaches and teammates have helped me develop as a player and a person and I will miss helping them get the Tar Heel program back on top.
"Winning the national championship my first year is a special memory that will last a lifetime. I will continue to work on my degree, something I have promised my parents I would do. Even though I am giving up my final two years of eligibility, I will continue to pursue my family's dream of earning my college degree.
"I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the student body here and I want to thank the students and all the Carolina fans for their support. Right now I want to finish the school year in good shape academically and get ready for the next step in my basketball career. Finally, my family and I again want to thank Coach Williams for giving me the opportunity to play for the Tar Heels and create so many great memories."
And here is what Roy Williams had to say:
Ed is a wonderful young man who I am proud to have coached. He was having a very productive season before suffering a broken wrist. He helped us win a national championship as a freshman and his injuries this past year were certainly an obstacle in us returning to the NCAA Tournament. We wish him great success and look forward to supporting him and following his professional career.
No mention of whether Davis will hire an agent and also no press conference which is customary if said player is leaving for good. The smart money would be to wait on the agent until the drop dead date of May 8th just in case something happens with the wrist and Davis needs to return. I am guessing that is why that part was left ambiguous.[Update: According to multiple folks in the media, Davis plans to hire an agent, so this is a done deal]
Personally, I thought Davis would return because of the wrist but his decision to leave signals two things:
1. Davis and his camp are not concerned about the injury or limited workouts affecting his stock
2. Davis wants to get in under the current CBA rules which could change what kind of contract he could draw as a rookie later.
As for team impact, it obviously hurts in terms of lost talent but at the same time I still have lingering questions about team chemistry where Davis was concerned. Then again there is no way to ascertain whether the latter matters but I do think John Henson and Tyler Zeller can step up their games to compensate for the void being left behind.