Syracuse freshman power forward Chris McCullough plans to enter this year’s draft, sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM. That’s somewhat of a surprise, since McCullough tore his ACL in January. Chad Ford of ESPN.com lists him as the 43rd-best prospect, while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress is already looking ahead to 2016 for him, listing him 21st in his mock draft for that year.
McCullough’s apparent decision is reminiscent of Spencer Dinwiddie‘s choice to enter last year’s draft after suffering a torn ACL in January 2014. The Pistons took Dinwiddie 38th overall, and he’s averaged 13.4 minutes per game in 38 appearances for Detroit this season. Still, he was a junior in college and had a longer track record of success than McCullough has. McCullough was 19th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index coming out of high school, but he failed to average double figures in points across 16 games with Syracuse before the injury, notching 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds in 28.1 minutes per contest.
The 20-year-old began the season with a more prominent role than he was playing at the time of his injury, and his best performance probably came in November against eventual NCAA Tournament No. 7 seed Iowa, when he had 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Syracuse and coach Jim Boeheim have a long track record of producing NBA players, though the recent big men to come out of the school haven’t been stellar, with Hakim Warrick, Fab Melo, Donte Greene and Arinze Onuaku perhaps the most prominent names.