After repeatedly saying that he would be back in Lawrence for his junior season, it is now being reported that he is going to declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft. There will be a press conference later this afternoon where Julian will officially declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft. It is unclear whether he will hire an agent right away or not, becuase if he chooses not to hire an agent he has until the June 18th deadline. Most mock drafts have him going in the Top 10 if not even the Top 5, and that is assuming that most players leave school early (see: Oden, Greg; Durant, Kevin; Wright, Brandan).
Despite the millions of dollars waiting in the NBA for Julian, he simply isn't ready for the pro game and unless he is OK with learning on the sidelines for a couple years, he will be unhappy in the pros. He needs to bulk up by a ton to compete with other NBA small fowards, along with improving his mid-range jumpshot. He will never be a successful NBA player with his current (or lack thereof) jump shot because they will just back off of him and not allow him to drive past them. In college, he has scored most of his points because he is so incredibly athletic, but in the NBA when other players are just as athletic as him he won't be able to do that.
Julian has a chance to lead this team to a National Championship next year while improving his own game, compared to getting drafted and making millions of dollars and improving his own game....on the bench. Before he officially declares he has to ask himself a question, would you rather make millions of dollars RIGHT NOW or would you rather take a stab at history, try and bring a championship home to Lawrence and possibly be remembered forever in Jayhawk lore. Plus, the millions of dollars will still be there in a year and with no Durants or Odens in next year's draft (most likely) he could go even higher depending on how much he polishes his game. Plus, while some Jayhawk fans will be crying 'Benedict Wright' and dishone his part of Jayhawk lore because of his sudden change of heart, if he comes back for his junior season and leaves after that no one will complain. That was your plan from the get-go, all we want is one more year. To me, the choice is simple.
Come back Julian for one more year, we'll never forget it.
UPDATE: It's official. We are down one big man heading into next season, hopefully Cole Aldrich is ready to play from day one and Darrell Arthur is ready to be a 25 minute guy. While I don't think that Julian is ready for the NBA, as stated above, I wish him the best of luck from the bottom of my heart and hope he succeeds in the NBA. He also said he plans on hiring an agent soon, so his chances of returning are slim to none and slim just left town. Here is what Wright had to say: