Indiana 7-footer Cody Zeller and a pair of point guards were among the latest standout underclassmen to enter the NBA draft.
Joining Zeller were Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams and Missouri’s Phil Pressey.
Zeller, a sophomore who led the Hoosiers in scoring (16.5 points) and rebounding (8.1), was a second-team All-American and is projected to be a top-10 pick in the June draft.
He is the second Hoosiers star to leave school early. On Tuesday, junior swingman Victor Oladipo announced he, too, was entering the NBA draft. He also is projected to be a lottery pick.
Zeller said he’s known for a while that this past season would likely be his last in college.
“After a while, you just kind of know,” he said during a news conference at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. “Barring injury, I kind of knew it might be my last year, so I enjoyed every minute of it. There was a sense of accomplishment playing my last game at Assembly Hall, playing in my last (NCAA) tournament.”
Zeller’s older two brothers, Luke and Tyler, play in the NBA.
The 6-foot-6 Carter-Williams started all 40 games for the Orange this season. He finished fifth nationally in assist average (7.3) and fourth in steals (2.78) among Division I players, and also averaged 11.9 points and a team-best 35.2 minutes.
“I want to thank coach (Jim) Boeheim and all the coaches for the amazing experience I’ve had playing basketball at Syracuse,” Carter-Williams said in a statement Wednesday. “I also want to thank my current and past teammates because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be able to chase my lifelong dreams.
“In addition, the fans, who have been unbelievable from the moment I got here, I’ll always be a proud member of the Syracuse program.”
His star rose greatly in the postseason as he led Syracuse on a scintillating run to the Big East championship and the Final Four.
In the NCAA tournament, Carter-Williams scored a career-high 24 points in an upset of top-seeded Indiana in the semifinals of the East Regional.
Pressey, a 5-foot-11 guard whose father, Paul, played in the NBA, averaged 11.9 points, 7.1 assists and 1.8 steals in leading the Tigers to a an appearance in the NCAA tournament. He was all-Southeastern Conference and is Missouri’s career leader in assists with 580. He tied Anthony Peeler for the school’s career steals lead with 196.