ESPN has just reported that Arkansas Razorbacks point guard Courtney Fortson will indeed declare for the NBA draft, with one caveat however—he will not have an agent.
According to ESPN, this means that:
Not hiring an agent would allow Fortson to change his mind and retain his amateur status if he withdraws his name by May 8th. The NBA draft is June 24th.
Although Fortson's chances to get drafted in the NBA may be slim, there is still the very viable option of playing pro basketball in Europe.
Fortson was Arkansas' highest scorer last year with 17.9 points per game and also led the SEC in assists, averaging 5.9 per game.
This report is the latest in a series of spiraling bad news for the basketball hogs in the postseason. First was the news report that the team's second-leading scorer, Rotnei Clarke, was considering transferring.
Rotnei ended up deciding to stay, although his father mentioned afterwards on a popular local radio show that Rotnei had indeed been frustrated with the season.
Then Arkansas lost a must-get recruit in top JUCO transfer Ricardo Ratliffe, who recently signed with Mike Anderson's Missouri team. His presence would likely have helped to offset the loss of 6'9" senior center Michael Washington.
If Fortson does end up leaving the Hogs, Rotnei Clarke will be the only man left from John Pelphrey's eight-member 2008 recruiting class.
The Razorbacks have rarely seen someone as talented as Fortson at the point guard position. He has the capability to take the entire team upon his shoulders, as he did in the second half of the Mississippi State game last year.
Some fans will argue that his absence will not make or break the team next year, pointing to his high turnover ratio.
They could not be more wrong.
Replacing a team's leading scorer is never something to merely shrug off and Fortson's return to the team last year after his suspension made a considerable difference compared to how the team performed without him during the first half of the season.
Without Fortson, Arkansas' 7-9 conference record would have been much worse.