Shumpert to leave Tech for NBA

Iman Shumpert is going to gamble.

Despite projections that he likely would be a second-round draft pick, the Georgia Tech guard has decided to hire an agent and stay in the NBA draft, ending his Yellow Jackets career.

“I feel like anybody that enters [the draft early] is taking a risk,” Shumpert said Tuesday. “But even with playing basketball, if you don’t take risks, you’re not going to be successful.”

Shumpert, who was an All-ACC second-team and All-ACC defensive-team choice as a junior last season, said he believes he can move his way into the first round through his performance in pre-draft workouts. Recently hired Tech coach Brian Gregory, who polled several NBA scouts and decision makers, said his research informed him that Shumpert should safely be in the top half of the second round.

“I felt like if I was going to cement [a position in the first round], then I had to go all in and dedicate myself to all basketball,” said Shumpert, who did school projects and made a picture book as a child about playing in the NBA.

Given Sunday’s deadline to pull his name out of the draft and return to school, Shumpert would have had time to participate in only one workout, this weekend in New Jersey. He has been working out, both individually and with coaches, but also was continuing his studies. He was up until 3 a.m. Tuesday studying for a psychology final.

Shumpert is taking on considerable risk, particularly if he falls into the second round or goes undrafted. Only first-round picks receive guaranteed contracts in the NBA. A lockout — which many predict will happen — would throw the offseason and next season into uncertainty.

On the other hand, the threat of a lockout may boost Shumpert’s chances of jumping into the first round. The threat has undoubtedly helped convince many potential draftees to stay in school. Potential lottery picks, including North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Baylor’s Perry Jones, have decided to return to campus.

“He is a guy that I think is going to move up in draft status as the workouts come,” Gregory said. “I think he’ll be very, very impressive in those.”

Shumpert said the possibility of a lockout at first was a factor, but then he decided that if a lockout occurred, he could stay with his parents and work out on his own. Shumpert also said that, given the numbers that he put up this season, the only way he could improve his stock as a senior would be to win big. As a junior, Shumpert became the fourth player in ACC history to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Tech went 13-18 and finished 5-11 in the ACC, leading to coach Paul Hewitt’s dismissal.

“I feel like that’s the only thing I can show, that I can lead a team, and I feel like I can,” Shumpert said.

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