With just about 24 hours until he has to make a decision regarding his basketball future (May 8), Florida Gators junior forward Alex Tyus is currently in Portland, OR, getting ready for a workout with the NBA‘s Portland Trailblazers after spending some time preparing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.
At some point after his workout, Tyus will decide whether to return to Florida for his senior season or hire an agent keep himself eligible for the 2010 NBA Draft.
If the majority of his family has anything to say about it, Tyus will not be donning the orange and blue next year – at least that is the impression one receives according to interviews conducted by the Orlando Sentinel and Gainesville Sun.
The Sentinel spoke with his father, Thomas Tyus, who has suggested that his son leave the Gators because, in his opinion, head basketball coach Billy Donovan has been utilizing his son incorrectly since he arrived on campus.
“I don’t think he has anything to gain by returning to the University of Florida basketball-wise,” Thomas said. “I just feel he has not developed his full potential. [...] He can go back and get his degree at any time.”
Thomas believes his son could be an “unbelievable small forward” and blames Donovan for playing him exclusively at power forward and center over the last two years.
“He’s certainly capable of playing the small forward position, and he was the moment he stepped on campus,” Thomas said. “He’s never gotten the opportunity to do that. All the kid wants is an opportunity to be the best possible player he can be. [...] He tries to do everything the coach asks him to do. He also feels that, at some point, the coach should try to help him as well.”
His uncle, Charles Tyus, told the Sun that there is “no chance” Tyus plays for Florida next year, also citing issues with his nephew’s position. According to Charles, Tyus and Donovan have met extensively over the last month, with the coach explaining that fellow junior Chandler Parsons will start at small forward once again in 2010-11.
“I think right then and there, Alex made up his mind that he wasn’t coming back,” Charles said. “He’ll take his chances and go overseas if he’s not drafted.”
The only one denying that a decision has already been made is Alli Cecchini, Tyus’ finance, who also spoke with the Sun.
“We’ll sit down Friday and really, really talk it through,” she said. “He’s gotten a lot of feedback saying he should come back. […] We even talked last week quite a bit about him coming back.”
Upon entering his name in the draft, Tyus told the Sun that he would only keep himself eligible for selection if he was projected to be a first-round pick. Most NBA draft analysts have Tyus with a “second round or undrafted” grade as of press time.
However, as OGGOA noted early Thursday, it does appear that Tyus’ decision will hinge on “more than just his draft projection.”
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