Junior shooting guard Vander Blue is contemplating forgoing his senior year to enter the 2013 NBA draft, multiple sources told PaintTouches.com.
Blue has not made a definitive decision, but he could announce his choice later this week. Should he declare, per NCAA rules, he has until Apr. 16–the day before the spring signing period begins–to take his name out of the draft and return to school. If he declares and signs with an agent he would forfeit his amateur status. The NBA’s draft list is finalized Apr. 28.
Any collegiate player can ask the NBA’s Undergraduate Draft Committee for feedback on his draft status prior to his decision without commitment, though it’s uncertain if Blue has asked for such review.
The 6-foot-4 Blue averaged 18.3 points in this year’s NCAA Tournament while helping to lead the Golden Eagles to their first Elite 8 appearance in 10 years. Blue scored the game-winner with 1.0 second left in the second round against 14th-seeded Davidson, and poured in 29 points in a third-round win over Butler to reach the Sweet 16. He added 14 points in Marquette’s win over Miami, pushing Marquette to the semifinals of the East regional.
Blue averaged 14.8 points per game on better than 45 percent shooting this year, up more than six points and four percentage points, respectively, from his sophomore season. He took the leadership reins from seniors Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom, both of whom were selected in last year’s draft.
Blue, a former top-40 recruit who committed to Wisconsin as a high school sophomore before backing out and choosing in-state rival Marquette, struggled to meet expectations as a freshman.
He did, however, improve in a larger role as a sophomore and again as a junior, yet until the NCAA Tournament was off most online scout’s draft boards. His impressive postseason performance, coupled with his second-team All-Big East showing in the regular season, however, significantly improved his stock.
ESPN.com’s Chad Ford updated Blue’s biography on March 26, writing that “his elite athletic ability, his defensive toughness and his leadership have all caught NBA scouts’ eyes. If he shot it a little better, or was a little taller, he’d get a serious look in the lottery [...] don’t count him out of the first-round conversation yet.” It’s unclear whether Ford meant the 2013 or 2014 draft.
Ford also bumped Blue from the 90s of his top-100 list to No. 75, and tweeted during Marquette’s Tournament run that Blue was an “intriguing prospect.”
DraftExpress.com currently has Blue as the No. 21 selection in the 2014 NBA draft, while NBADraft.net lists him at No. 38 in the 2014 draft.
Draft Express’ Jonathan Givony tweeted on March 23 that Blue was “trying to force his way into the 2013 NBA draft w/ a strong NCAA Tournament so far.”
Marquette is currently one scholarship over the limit of 13 for next season.
Stay with Paint Touches as more information rolls in.