Caris LeVert unsure on whether or not he’ll declare for NBA Draft

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Caris LeVert has a tough NBA choice to make. (USATSI)
Caris LeVert has a tough NBA choice to make. (USATSI)

Caris LeVert is still unsure about whether or not he’ll return for his senior season at Michigan.

The 6-foot-7 junior guard, recovering from a left foot fracture back in January, spoke to Rod Beard of the Detroit News, and noted how “tough” the decision is for him regarding if he’ll forego his senior season to declare for the NBA draft or if he’ll stay.

Whether they’ll have him next season is still up in the air, but LeVert shed some light on his recovery and his decision process about whether he’ll forego his senior season at UM or declare for the NBA draft on Thursday following the Wolverines’ 73-55 win over Illinois.

“Just coming back next year would be very fun for me and very beneficial for me and the team,” LeVert said Thursday. “Going to the NBA would also be fun — that’s a lifetime dream. It’s definitely going to be a tough decision.”

Although he’s seen former teammates Trey Burke, Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III go in the NBA draft, he’s looking to work with coach John Beilein to gather as much information as possible about where he could be projected in this year’s draft before making a decision.

“It’ll probably be up to the last day, April 27,” LeVert said. “I’m not sure exactly why. I’ll wait until that time — my health being one of those (reasons).”

For the past week, LeVert has been off crutches but using a walking boot. He said he’s on schedule to start running and cutting in April.

LeVert is in one of the more fascinating and difficult predicaments of any prospect that could declare for the draft. He’s currently sitting at No. 19 on my big board, as I think his mix of size, length, shooting ability, and ball-handling skill would make him a really strong NBA prospect — albeit one that may take a year or two to fully get there because of his defensive acumen. I wrote an in-depth scouting report on him following his injury, and I still largely feel the same way about his skillset.

However, due to his injury, it’s unknown whether or not he’ll be able to work out at 100 percent for NBA teams starting in May, given that he’ll just begin running and cutting in April. His tape is certainly out there for everyone to see, but I imagine that for most teams it would be hard to take a guy that they hadn’t worked out. Plus, NBA teams are going to be wary of his injury history, as this was the second time he’s injured his left foot in the past year. They’ll certainly all need to have their team doctors look at the foot to give their front offices the go-ahead to pick him.

His decision also has pretty big implications for Michigan, as the Wolverines would likely be a top-25 team if he returns from his injury, given that just about everyone returns to the fold. With another year of development from he, Zak Irvin, Derrick Walton, and the big men inside like Ricky Doyle, Michigan could legitimately make some noise in 2016.

So there are a lot of factors at play for LeVert, and it’s impossible to say which way he should lean right now without knowing enough about his health as he recovers from his foot surgery. This one’s going to come down to the wire, and we won’t have an answer for sure for over a month, given that he said he’ll probably wait until the deadline.

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