There should be no surprise in Orangeville that mighty Dion Waiters might go pro and declare for the 2012 NBA Draft following his sophomore season with the Syracuse Orange.
Despite the fact that he never started a game in an SU uniform, Waiters was far-and-away the best athlete and more often than not the best player on the floor during his Big East Sixth Man of the Year season.
With multiple folks predicting him to be picked in the first-round based on talent and athleticism alone, it's no wonder that reports are leaking that Dion will forgo the rest of his Orange career.
Sure, Dion is saying all the right things but he's also saying all the things you say when you're about to leave: (trust SU fans, we know):
"I mean, I would love to get revenge," he said, "but at the end of the day we’re going to sit down, talk with my family and I’ll make a decision."
Of course, you could have just looked at his Twitter bio all season long to know it for sure.
Im just a normal kid pursuing my life long dream of being able to provide for my family. Its gonna take hard work but we going to make it.
His "life long dream" isn't to win a national title at Syracuse. Yes, I'm sure he would love to do that and I don't doubt his sincerity to have wanted it this year, but that's not what he imagined himself doing when he was a kid on the basketball courts in Philadelphia. It was to play in the NBA. It was to win NBA World Championships. It was to make enough money to take care of his entire family. You can't do any of those things at Syracuse.
And if enough people are saying he's a lock to get picked in a range where he can make all of that happen sooner than later...understood.
Don't play the "if you stay it will mean more" or "do the right thing and finish your career" or "he's not ready" card. That's about you, not him. Your dream is to see Syracuse win. His dream is beyond that, as it should be.
And as for the "he's not ready" thing, are they ever ready? Nine out of ten seniors aren't ready. But the NBA Draft is about potential, not immediate results. And Dion's got potential coming out his pores.
If Dion decides to return to Syracuse, I'll eat my shirt* (*non-binding). He's got every reason to go and we have every reason to expect him to.
Syracuse will be fine. We've lost plenty of great players early before and clearly we've recovered. The future is unknown for Dion no matter what choice he makes, but better to make the choice that could put money in your pocket and get you closer to your dreams right now.