Wisconsin Badger junior forward Sam Dekker announced today (Friday) that he will pass up his final season of eligibility at UW and enter the 2015 NBA Draft.
“These past three years have been the best, most memorable years of my life,” Dekker said. “Growing up in the state and being able to wear Wisconsin across my chest has been a dream come true.
“After lots of thoughts and prayers, I’ve decided that it is in my best interest to enter the NBA Draft at this time. It is difficult to leave Madison and the only state I’ve called home, but I’m excited for the next chapter of my life.”
The Sheboygan, Wisconsin native appeared in 113 games with 81 starts in his career at UW, finishing 15th in school history with 1,363 points. Combined with his 569 career rebounds, Dekker became just the eighth Badger to tally 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his first three seasons.
Dekker averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15, helping lead the Badgers to a school-record 36 wins, Big Ten regular season and tournament championships and the 2015 National Championship Game. A second-team All-Big Ten selection and finalist for the Julius Erving Award, Dekker reached double-figure scoring in 27 of the final 31 games of the season, including 23 and 27 points in back-to-back NCAA tournament wins over North Carolina and Arizona.
The 2015 West Regional Most Outstanding Player, Dekker tallied 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting a team-high 57.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from 3-point range during the NCAA tournament.
It makes sense for Dekker to leave now because of the money. The chances of his stock getting any higher than it is right now isn’t likely.
The NBA drafts players on potential, assuming players will be great even before they are. The NBA sees players before they struggle and then put them into the lottery.
Had Dekker returned to Madison, he would have likely been better off for it. All you have to do is look at his teammate Frank Kaminsky. Look how much better of a player Kaminsky turned out to be by passing on the quick riches of the NBA and coming back for his senior season.
But the way this crazy system is set up, it’ll be interesting to see if Kaminsky, who is college basketball’s player of the year this year, will go higher in the draft than the less accomplished Dekker. Kaminsky outplayed all Kentucky had to offer, then did the same to Jahlil Okafor at Duke. Will he be rewarded for it in the Draft?
Dekker leaves for the NBA with an inconsistent outside shot. To make a serious go of it in the NBA, Dekker will have to get much better in this area. He would have had the time to do so had he returned for his senior year of college. But it makes no sense for Dekker to return because of the money.
Will Dekker turn into an NBA superstar? I have my serious doubts. Badger fans will be sad, but happy for Dekker at the same time.
A colleague of mine offered an observation. Who does Dekker remind you of? He mentioned the name Joe Alexander, who was a Bucks lottery flop a few years ago. Interesting.
I can’t fault Dekker for leaving early, it makes financial sense for him to do so. But the fan in me is hoping it works out because there’s no turning back once you go into the draft.