GAINESVILLE -- I wrote in a blog post last month that Alex Tyus needs to focus on becoming a leader this offseason. For now, Tyus apparently has different plans.
Florida's junior forward told the Gainesville Sun on Wednesday that he plans on submitting his name for the NBA Draft. He'll do this without hiring an agent, apparently. I've got some news for you, Alex. You're not getting drafted. Not this year and probably not any year. Stay in school, Alex. Get your degree, Alex. Work on becoming a leader, Alex. You might learn something about yourself. Tough words, those.
Tyus has until May 8 to remain eligible for the draft or return to school. What will Tyus be doing between now and then? Hopefully he isn't completely oblivious to his non-existent chances of getting drafted and stays in school. Not going to class right now would be a bad idea.
You might recall that Tyus wanted to transfer last offseason but then decided to return to Florida. This guy apparently wants out of Gainesville. Should UF coach Billy Donovan just let him go? Tyus would be a returning starter next season but his current attitude is an example of a problem that has plagued Florida basketball since 2007. Some players between 2008 and this season -- none currently on the roster -- seemed to care more about themselves than the team.
If Tyus is gone for good (Don't do it, Alex!) then freshman forward Erik Murphy could be an option to replace Tyus in the starting line-up. Murphy finished the season well and showed improved throughout. Another option is Jacksonville prep star Patric Young, who recently had nine rebounds in the McDonald's All-American game. Young is apparently a tough defender and that quality could earn him significant minutes as a freshman.
If Ray Shipman and Tyus do not return to the team, then Donovan should have five scholarships at his disposal when the late signing period begins in mid April. UF's current scholarship players: Murphy, Kenny Boynton Jr., Chandler Parsons, Vernon Macklin, Adam Allen, Erving Walker, Kenny Kadji and Nimrod Tishman
Recruits Young and small forward Casey Prather of Jackson, Tenn., are already on board. That leaves three scholarships. Adding a point guard (or two) seems like a priority and another big man wouldn't hurt. Donovan shouldn't give up on signing Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest guard Brandon Knight until the bitter end.
As it stands right now, the Gators return four starters for next season. Senior forward Chandler Parsons, redshirt senior Vernon Macklin and freshman Kenny Boynton Jr. have the potential to be All-SEC caliber players. Sophomore guard Erving Walker will have a year's worth of starting experience next season and has potential to improve. Add the steady play of Murphy to that group and the Gators should be able to once again compete for the SEC regular-season championship.
It certainly helps Florida that rival Kentucky just lost five players to the NBA Draft. Guards John Wall and Eric Bledsoe and forwards DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Daniel Orton declared for the NBA Draft on Wednesday.