Gardner Guns for NBA
"I'm making myself eligible for this year's NBA draft," announced Thomas Gardner on Wednesday at a news conference in Mizzou Arena.
He follows Keyon Dooling, Kareem Rush and Linas Klieza as recent Tigers who jumped to the pro ranks despite having college eligibility remaining.
"When something is new and upcoming and kind of hot, it's better to test it rather than wait another year," said Gardner.
He hopes a club picks him in the first or early second round. Otherwise, he'll return to the Black and Gold.
Gardner explained, "Late second round, I would pull out. But, that all depends on how I work out."
He said former coach Quin Snyder's resignation had nothing to do with Gardner's decision to go pro.
"Not at all," he stated. "It's all up to me and how I do at the NBA workouts. From this point, since my name is in, I have to give my workout schedule and get ready for Orlando and the pre-draft camp."
Gardner did most of his damage for MU from behind the 3-point line, which is about 3 feet farther back in the pros. He knows he has a lot to work on to make it at the next level.
"There are weaknesses that I had this year on the college level, and in the NBA those weaknesses would be exposed," Gardner admitted. "So, I have to work on a lot of things and just be a sponge, soak up a lot of things from my team."
A team Gardner hopes plays its games in the National Basketball Association.