UPDATED (APRIL 5): With English and Bowers preparing to test the NBA Draft waters, it would make sense for Marcus Denmon, Mizzou's most consistent player last season, to do likewise. I talked to Marcus Tuesday morning after Frank Haith's introductory news conference. Here is what he had to say.
Question: Kim English and Laurence Bowers are both entering the NBA Draft to get evaluated by scouts, did that ever cross your mind?
Denmon: Yeah, I mean I'm returning for my senior season. So, if I did ever do anything like that, it'd just be to get the exposure or to get that evaluation.
Question: Are you thinking about doing that?
Denmon: Yeah, I mean I might, I'm not sure yet. I'm still up in the air about it, but we'll see. Time will tell.
Question: But if you did, it would strictly be for evaluation purposes?
Denmon: Yeah, yeah I mean, I want to return to Missouri for my senior season. Unless I was somewhere it could be life changing getting drafted, I wouldn't think about it. I'd come back to Missouri.
Bowers was also asked about his decision to enter the Draft and if the hiring of a coach like Frank Haith would make him want to return to Missouri. Here is what he had to say:
“I feel great about it. I’m entering the NBA Draft because I want to get evaluated. I want to see where I’m at as a player…I’m looking forward to it. Hiring a great guy like him definitely makes you want to come back.”
English and Bowers have until May 8 to withdraw their names from the NBA Draft.
UPDATED (April 4-12 pm): Junior Laurence Bowers has also decided to enter the NBA Draft. Bowers has not hired an agent, meaning that he can return to Mizzou before May 8.
"I think for anyone who plays college basketball, having a chance to play in the NBA is a dream," Laurence Bowers said in a press release on MUTigers.com. "I had a chance to talk with my family and other loved ones and this is something I want to do. This rule is in place to allow guys like us to explore their options and make an informed decision."
Bowers blocked 62 shots last season, second most in the Big 12. He also lead Missouri in rebounds with 6.1 per game and was second in scoring with 11.6 points per game.
Joining Bowers will be guard Kim English. Like Bowers, English is entering the NBA draft pool but has not hired an agent, leaving open the possibility he could return to Mizzou for his senior season. English sent a text to Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune Monday morning confirming his plans.
English’s announcement comes less than 24 hours after reports surfaced that Missouri had hired Frank Haith to be its head coach. In his text to the Tribune, English said Mizzou’s surprise hire did not have anything to do with his decision.
“Nothing to do with Haith hire,” he wrote. “Ima fan of his.”
English's decision to enter the draft is somewhat surprising. The Baltimore native averaged 14 points on 39.3 percent shooting as a sophomore, posting ten 20-point games, to go along with 3.4 rebounds. Those numbers dropped to 10 points on a career-worst 36.6 percent shooting, as well as 3.1 rebounds per game, this season.
English, who is 6'6" and 200 pounds, appears to be something of a long shot to get drafted. He is not listed in the 2011 or 2012 mock drafts compiled by DraftExpress.com or NBADraft.net. His name does not appear on ESPN.com’s list of the top 100 draft prospects.
“This is an opportunity I am looking forward to, to see where I stand as a basketball player,” Englishsaid in a press release on MUTigers.com. “I have loved my experience at Missouri, and I will make sure everything is in order for me to return if that’s the best decision for me and my family. This rule is in place for us, the player, so I want to take advantage of it and do what I can do to become a better all-around player.”
English has until May 8 to change his mind.