COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA9) -- Multiple sources reported on Sunday that Maryland center Alex Len is declaring for the NBA draft and is expected to make a formal announcement sometime this week.
In a previous post I expressed why I think this is a mistake for the 7-foot sophomore. Len's size alone makes him a lottery pick every year, regardless of the other talent in the draft. Size is un-coachable, un-teachable, and is simply God given. Add the fact that he can shoot the mid-range jumper, and he's almost one of the rarest of talents.
Despite all of this, Len was an average player in the ACC this past season, who relied more on his size than his skill set. After making huge strides in one off-season with head coach Mark Turgeon, the kid from the Ukraine still struggled to make himself relevant in a number of games last season. In the Terps second meeting vs. Florida State, Len finished with four points and five rebounds.
That screams lottery, doesn't it?
Nevertheless, it's a moot point. He's headed to the NBA, and whichever team inherits him will at least get a player who will commit himself this summer to getting better. Len will most likely improve, but will he be NBA ready? In my opinion, if stays one more year, he's a top three pick.
Moving forward, expect freshman Charles Mitchell to be worked like a dog this summer and be transformed into a polished product. He reminds me of Jordan Williams and if he can keep the weight off, he'll be a problem for the ACC. Shaq Cleare will also need to make a big improvement if he expects keep more minutes than incoming freshman, Damonte Dodd. Cleare's freshman year was spent catching up and trying to keep pace with the speed of the college game. With Len impending absence, he needs to be more of a leader and contribute way more than he did last year.
Lastly, this move most likely makes Dez Wells as the focal point of next year's offense. He transformed into a different player during the NIT. The fate of the team's success may depend on the how well he plays.