The writing was already on the wall. Now, the writing is on paper. Thomas Gardner has signed with an agent, thus making it official that he will forgo his senior season at Mizzou.
Most Tiger fans pretty much saw this coming after new coach Mike Anderson signed a 13th scholarship player. The NCAA only allows a team to have 12. Someone had to go. Gardner helped ease that situation when he chose Bill McCandless to represent him as a professional.
The early consensus on Gardner from NBA scouts is that he is a late second round guy or maybe even undrafted. His decision to come out early might have been aided by the fact that Mizzou was coming off a sub par season. Another bad season under a new coach and a changing program would not help Gardner in any way next year.
Training for upcoming workouts and pre-draft camps has already started for the former Tiger. Gardner is working out in California with trainer Joe Abunassar. He is the same trainer who worked out with ex-Mizzou star Linas Kleiza turning him from a relatively unknown to the 27th pick in the first round of the 2005 draft. Gardner has scheduled team workouts with the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Portland TrailBlazers, Sacramento Kings, and the Houston Rockets. Part of the reason Gardner signed with an agent is because he was unable to afford the travel cost. The NCAA mandates that a player must fund his own expenses if he wishes to retain his collegiate eligibility.
For the next month leading up to the draft, the job for Team Gardner will be to convince at least one NBA executive that he will be an asset to their team. All it takes is one.
The NBA draft will be in held in New York on June 28th.