With his left wrist still healing in a soft cast, North Carolina forward Ed Davis might be taking a risk by giving up his final two seasons of eligibility to turn pro.
But after the school announced the sophomore’s decision Monday afternoon, Ed’s father, Terry, said there was a bigger concern on the table — a possible NBA lockout in 2011.
“This was a tough decision for him, because he loves Carolina, loves his teammates,’’ Terry Davis, a former NBA player, said in a phone interview. “But with a possible lockout the next year, that could set him back another year. And he wanted to fulfill his dream.”
The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire after the 2010-11 season, and unless a new deal is reached, the second NBA work stoppage in about a decade could take place in the fall of 2011. Had Davis opted to stay for his junior season, a lockout might have forced him to stay for his senior season, as well.
Terry Davis said he and his son met with UNC coach Roy Williams over the weekend, and that Williams was supportive, “just like he has been from Day One.”
In a prepared statement, Williams said he was proud to have coached Davis and looks forward to following him and supporting him at the next level.
Ed Davis, in a prepared statement, thanked Williams and his teammates and family; said he would continue to pursue his degree; and called winning the 2009 national championship “a special memory that will last a lifetime.”
Terry Davis said his son will hire an agent, and he’s confident that Ed – a defensive minded player who averaged 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds as a sophomore -- will be a first-round pick. But there is some question as to whether the status of his shooting wrist – which he broke on Feb. 10, in the second half against Duke – will affect how high in the first round he goes.
Although the wrist does not need surgery, Terry Davis said, the soft cast likely won’t come off for another couple of weeks. Ed won’t go through any workouts until he’s fully healthy, Terry said. Asked about projections of where Ed would be chosen in the June 24 draft, his dad said: “It’s hard to say right now, with his wrist. Teams are a little skeptical about it, but as it gets closer to draft time and he’s able to work out, and teams gain confidence that there’s nothing wrong [with his wrist] – I’m confident he’s a lottery pick.”
Davis’ departure could leave UNC thin in the post next season. Big men John Henson, Tyler Zeller and Travis Wear all return. But David Wear, who had hip surgery near the end of the season, won’t return until June at the earliest, and his status for next year is unclear.
“Again, it was a hard decision for Ed,’’ Terry Davis said. “ But it’s been a childhood dream to play in the NBA, and he’s happy that he’s made the next step, and is going to the next level.”