Auburn point guard Kareem Canty declares for 2016 NBA Draft

Well, we still have about a month to go in the college basketball season, but the first underclassman has thrown his hat in the ring for the 2016 NBA Draft.

Auburn point guard Kareem Canty tweeted Thursday night that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2016 NBA Draft.

Canty averaged 18.3 points and 5.3 assists in his sole season at Auburn. However, he was suspended last weekend for conduct detrimental to the team and it was unclear if he was going to return this season. It’s worth noting that Canty could use the NCAA’s newly passed rule to return to Auburn if he doesn’t like where his draft stock is, but the words in this tweet seem rather final.

“His effort and attitude have been extremely inconsistent, which led to actions and behavior that are unacceptable,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement announcing Canty’s suspension. “He will step away from the team for a while and may return later in the season. He is suspended indefinitely.”

Canty began his career at Marshall. He was deemed an academic non-qualifier by the NCAA in his freshman season in 2012-13, meaning he had to sit out a year. In his sophomore season at Marshall, he was terrific in scoring 16.3 points and averaging 5.5 assists per game before choosing to transfer to Auburn (after a brief commitment to South Florida).

Canty was not on the most recent CBS Sports NBA Draft Big Board. However, given that he’ll be 23 in April, it’s not a crazy decision for him to declare. Plenty of players simply decide that they’ve had enough of college, and want to move forward and make money playing basketball. NC State’s Trevor Lacey, now playing in Italy, was in a similar position last season, and did a great job of explaining the thought process behind why some marginal older prospects go pro to Scout.com last season.

“I’m ready to start my life, my career,” Lacey said. “Being a college athlete is … it’s fun, it’s a great thing to be a part of, but five years of it. … I’m just ready to start. I’ll be 24. I’m growing up. I’m trying to be more mature about things, and I’m just ready to take that next step in life. Look, I know people question my decision to turn pro and enter, but that’s not like I’m saying that I know I’ll be a NBA player this year or next year. It’s starting the journey, whether it’s in the NBA or overseas. I’m ready to start my life and make some money. … do things for my family. Whether it’s just to give my mom 10 dollars, something I couldn’t do in college.”

Now, Lacey didn’t have the question marks that Canty does. However, as long as Canty has the mindset that he can make money, be it in America or overseas in Europe, he should be in a good position to get a solid contract somewhere next season.

Kareem Canty will be playing professionally somewhere next season. (USATSI)
Kareem Canty will likely be playing professionally somewhere next season. (USATSI)

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