Potential 2019 lottery pick Darius Garland has withdrawn from Vanderbilt after suffering a season-ending knee injury, he announced on Tuesday (via Twitter). According to Garland, he made the decision after “considerable deliberation” with his family and medical staff, and his focus going forward will be on preparing for the draft.
“It was a really hard to decision from sitting down with my family,” Garland said, per Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com. “I talked to coach [Bryce] Drew and the coaching staff and it was the best fit for me because of where I’m placed right now is really unbelievable especially coming off the injury. Just having a chance to play in the league, which I’ve been dreaming about that since I can remember, playing in the NBA, just having that chance I couldn’t turn that down.”
As Daniels observes, Garland and Murray State’s Ja Morant look like the two clear top point guards in the 2019 draft class, and both players figure to be top-10 picks. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony agrees with that assessment, placing Garland seventh in his latest mock draft.
Garland appeared in just five games for Vanderbilt before having his season cut short by his knee issue, but looked good in that limited sample size, averaging 16.2 PPG on .537/.478/.750 shooting. One high-ranking NBA executive tells Daniels that he thinks the knee injury will have “zero” impact on the freshman’s draft stock.
“I think they are being cautious and that’s a good thing,” the exec said. “There’s too much body of work. Anyone that has done their homework, knows what his game and know who he is as a person.”