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April 1, 2012University of Washington sophomore Terrence Ross has decided to enter his name into the 2012 NBA Draft and forego his final two years of eligibility with the Huskies.
"I discussed the pros and the cons with my family and I just think this is a great step for me and it's time for me to take my game to the next level," Ross said.
And no one is surprised.
Ross had a tremendous year for the Huskies as he averaged 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.3 steals per game.
He was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team and many felt he was robbed when California's Jorge Gutierrez won the conference's Player of the Year award.
But Ross' NBA potential goes so much further than just the gaudy stats he put up this season and in the NIT. According to scouts and NBA personnel, Ross' physical attributes and ideal size have always made him the perfect fit for the NBA.
"I heard everything from Top 10 to late lottery and late first round," Ross said about where scouts have been telling him he will be drafted.
And if his stock wasn't already that high, the NIT certainly helped get it there.
Ross averaged 25 points per game during the tournament, going a perfect 15-for-15 from the free-throw line and drilling 41 percent of his shots from long range.
"I think playing against other players you really never go up against and playing against other teams you never go up against gives you an opportunity to really show what you can do against different defenses," Ross said. "I think it was a great opportunity to go out there and show everyone else all the other stuff they hadn't seen in the regular season."
Anyone who watched Ross during the NIT realized he was consistently the most dominating player on the floor and realized it was a long-shot that he would return to the Seattle campus for his junior year.
But just because it was a decision most fans saw coming doesn't mean it was an easy one for Ross.
When asked what he would miss the most, Ross immediately said, "playing in front of the Dawg Pack."
"I feel like they are one of the best crowds in the country," he said. "And Lorenzo Romar. He has been like a father figure to me. And all my teammates. I love my teammates and all the memories I have to share with them were hard to pass up."
Nonetheless, Ross has signed an agent and said this is as close to a "done deal" as possible. He won't be returning and the Huskies have to move on.
"We wish Terrence the best," Romar said. "He was refreshing to coach because of his humility and team-first attitude. We wish him well and anticipate that he will have an excellent NBA career."
It's certainly tough to lose someone of Ross' caliber, but Romar has players who can take his place.
Redshirt-sophomore C.J. Wilcox was terrific this season and looks ready to take another step forward. Scott Suggs was quite productive during the 2010-11 season and will return from a medical redshirt next year. And if freshman Tony Wroten returns, he will likely be an early candidate for national player of the year.
Wroten, of course, is expected to make his own decision on his future very soon, but Ross, who said he had discussed things with Wroten, gave no hints about the point guard's decision.
Underclassmen have until April 29 to declare for the draft. However, players who have not previously declared and who have not hired an agent must withdraw from draft consideration by April 10 to retain their college eligibility, so that's the date to watch with Wroten.