University of Missouri junior forwards DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons announced that they have declared for the 2008 NBA Draft, but will not hire agents.
By not hiring agents and maintaining their academic standing, both Carroll and Lyons can retain their collegiate eligibility and have the option of returning to Missouri if they choose to remove their name from the draft by the June 16 deadline.
"This rule is specifically in place to allow these young men to go out and gather information about their professional options," Head Coach Mike Anderson said. "It’s an opportunity to compete against some of the best players at their position and get some great advice from folks around the professional game."
Carroll was named the Big 12 Conference’s Newcomer of the Year in 2008 after leading the team with 6.7 rebounds per game and ranking second with 13.0 points. Noted for his blue-collar style of play in the paint, Carroll ranked among league leaders in a number of statistical categories, finishing fourth in field goal percentage (.536), seventh in double-doubles (four), ninth in rebounding and 17 th in scoring. The Birmingham, Ala., native was the team’s most consistent low-post scorer, reaching double figures 22 times, including four 20-point efforts. In a double-overtime win against Iowa State, Carroll recorded a career high 26 points, six of which came in the deciding second overtime to lead Mizzou to the thrilling win. The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward also proved to be an outstanding all-around threat, finishing second on the club with 36 steals, while tying for the team lead with 21 blocked shots. A junior on the hardwood, Carroll will graduate from Missouri in May.
"Being a junior and graduating this May, I made this decision to take advantage of the rules in place and get the added competition and information," Carroll said. "Like anyone, I want to see how I stack up. I want to see where I can improve my game and how I can become the best player possible, whether that’s here at Missouri or on a professional level. My first priority has always been my academics, but now that I’m graduating, I wanted to take a hard look at the basketball side as well."
A 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward, Lyons was one of the Big 12’s most versatile big men a season ago and showed a dramatic increase in scoring and rebounding as a junior. The Kansas City native led the club with 13.1 points per game and paced the Big 12 Conference with 58.3 percent shooting from the floor (No. 23 nationally). In Big 12 play Lyons averaged an improved 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds to earn a spot on the Big 12’s All-Improved Team by the league media. The team leader with six 20-point games last year, Lyons averaged 16.1 points and 8.0 rebounds over his final 16 games, which included a career-best effort of 27 points and 18 rebounds against Oklahoma State. Lyons hit 12-of-13 shots vs. the Cowboys, breaking the Mizzou Arena record for field goal accuracy, while also setting the standard for single-game boards. The 18 rebounds also tied for the most in a Big 12 game this year. Overall Lyons saw his statistical averages improve 5.7 points and 1.4 rebounds from his sophomore season, making him the most improved player on the team and one of the most improved players in the Big 12 Conference.
"Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine, so this is just another step in pursuing that dream," Lyons said. "I wanted to take full advantage of the rules in place and the rules allow me to compete against some of the best players in the world, in front of professional organizations, without jeopardizing my eligibility at Missouri. This is a great opportunity to gather information about my professional future and improve my game as a whole."
The 2008 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 26 in New York City. It will be broadcast on ESPN.