Myck Kabongo veered from the path set forth by his predecessors and will return for his sophomore season.
The Longhorns’ starting point guard announced Monday that he would bypass the 2012 NBA Draft and stay in school. He’s the first UT starting point guard to shun the pros since 2009.
“It’s not my time to go,” Kabongo announced on the Longhorn Network. “I want to be here next year. We see ourselves playing deep into March.”
Bradley, Joseph and Kabongo all came to UT from Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada. Forward Tristan Thompson also came from the same school and was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft after a strong freshman campaign.
But Kabongo felt he was not prepared to make the jump to the league. He consulted with his family and NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson before deciding to remain in college.
“It’s about being ready,” Kabongo said. “The NBA is going to be around. Being at Texas is the best thing for me.”
Kabongo also sought advice from Joseph, who has bounced between the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros of the NBA Developmental League as a rookie. Joseph was the 29th overall pick.
“He’s not in the best situation,” Kabongo said. “He’s a guy that’s been playing his whole life and now all of a sudden he has to sit at the end of the bench. He’s proud of my decision. I told him last night what I was going to do.”
Most scouting services projected Kabongo as a second round pick, though it’s not an exact science. He potentially left millions of dollars on the table had he been drafted at the end of the first round. Second round picks earn the league minimum (currently $490,180 per year).
Kabongo was even late to his announcement at Longhorn Network’s studios in North Austin. It’s clear he’s not rushing things.
“The one thing you want to do once you get to that next level, you want to stick,” Kabongo said of his NBA prospects. “A lot of guys get in there and they leave early and they don’t find themselves because they aren’t ready — it’s all potential. I don’t want to be one of those guys. I want to be someone who is ready to play and contribute.”
The Toronto product averaged 9.6 points and 5.2 assists in 34 games. He struggled in postseason play though, and had two points, two assists and two turnovers in UT’s season-ending loss to Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament.
“I didn’t play to where I should have been playing this year,” Kabongo said. “I just couldn’t leave this way ... I think I’m going to be a lot better than I was this year.”
Texas head coach Rick Barnes will have his entire freshman class return for the first time since 2009.
“Our entire staff is happy about Myck,” Barnes said in a statement. “Myck grew a lot this year. The expectation is Myck will continue to make tremendous strides.”
The deadline to declare for the NBA Draft is April 29. With Texas starting spring workouts Monday, Kabongo wanted to make his intentions clear. “I wanted to make sure my teammates know I’m all in,” he said. “I have no timetable.”
Published on Tuesday, March 27,1012 as: Kabongo to return for another year