Multiple sources close to Duke athletic officials have confirmed that freshman Luol Deng is strongly considering forgoing his final three years of eligibility and entering the NBA Draft.
Deng said following the Blue Devils' loss to Connecticut in the National Semifinal that he planned to return for his sophomore season. Things changed rapidly after the Final Four, however, when it became increasingly clear that Deng would be a high lottery pick. The forward is projected to be a top-five pick in the June 24 draft if he does choose to enter, and there is speculation that he may be chosen within the draft's first-three selections.
Coming out of high school, Deng was considered the consensus number two prep school player in the nation after LeBron James. He did not disappoint as a freshman, averaging 15 points and seven rebounds per game as one of the major driving forces behind the Blue Devils' Final Four run. Deng particularly elevated his stock during the NCAA tournament, where he was named the Atlanta Regional's Most Outstanding Player.
At 6-foot-8 and with a seven-foot wingspan, Deng possesses ideal size for an NBA small forward. Additionally, he has received praise from scouts for his fundamental basketball skills. His especially diverse skill set gives him the unusual ability to play multiple positions on the floor.
Deng has until May 10 to declare for the draft. Should he choose to do so, he will have until June 17 to withdraw from the draft and return to college if he does not sign with an agent.
Also, head coach Mike Krzyzewski will meet with top high school prospect Shaun Livingston Wednesday to discuss his future with the Blue Devils, according to the recruiting site TheDevilsDen.com. Livingston, the consensus number two player in this year's high school class, is reportedly also considering a jump to the NBA, where he, too, would likely be a top-five selection.
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