Syracuse Orange forward Tyler Lydon said he will forgo his last two years of eligibility and enter the 2017 NBA Draft, he posted on Twitter Wednesday evening.
In his announcement, Lydon said he appreciated the Syracuse coaching staff and his teammates for their support throughout his two-year Orange career.
Several media outlets, including CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, previously reported on Monday Lydon had decided to enter the NBA Draft and sign with an agent – making him ineligible to pull his name from consideration and return to school.
While Lydon didn’t explicitly state in his farewell message that he has signed with an agent, the fact he wrote he is excited about this “next step” in his career means he likely intends to do so.
Lydon averaged 13.2 points, on 47 percent shooting from the field and 39.5 percent from three-point range, per game this season. He also averaged 8.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 blocks.
Prior to the start of the 2016-17 season, Lydon was named to the Wooden Award preseason top 50, as well as the Naismith Trophy, Lute Olson Player of the Year Award and the Karl Malone Top Power Forward Award preseason watch list.
However, the 6-foot-9, 223-pound forward struggled early on, failing to record more than 10 points in five of Syracuse’s first eight games. Lydon would eventually bounce back, finishing the season with 14 games of 15 or more points scored. He also had nine double-doubles of points and rebounds.
DraftExpress’ most recent mock draft predicts Lydon being taken at No. 23 by the Orlando Magic.
In his press conference on Monday, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said he spoke with Lydon about his NBA Draft status and encouraged him to return for his junior season to potentially increase his draft stock to the point where he would be a lock to be taken in the lottery.
“If you’re not a lottery pick, most coaches think you should come back. Most coaches are on record pretty much as saying that,” Boeheim said. “ And I’m not going to be different from those coaches. I think if you don’t have any chance to be a lottery pick, then next year maybe (enter the NBA Draft).
“But with Tyler, I think he could be (a lottery pick) next year. He didn’t demonstrate it this year that he can be a lottery pick, but I know he can be – and that’s what I told him. I think he can come back and demonstrate that he can be a lottery pick. I think that’s a better way to go to the NBA. You make more money, they draft you high, they play you. Half the picks between 20 and 30 are out of the league in three years.”