I hope he has fun being the 7th man on a middling team in Estonia. That was the initial reaction I had when hearing that DSR was leaving the Hilltop a year early to go pro. I mean, wouldn't he rather be the senior leader, go-to-guy on a team that has the potential to make a deep tournament run? Didn't DSR see what happened to Hollis and Otto when they declared early? Sure, they're technically in the league, but anyone who follows the NBA even a little knows those guys are hanging by a thread. Hollis is on the worst team in the league - the team that many people think is actually trying to lose. Otto is often relegated only mop up duties - though he plays for arguably the least competent coach in the league. And DSR has nowhere near the NBA potential that Hollis or Otto had when they declared.
But as most people realize, DSR probably (er, hopefully) understands his chances at making an NBA roster are minimal at best. And his decision still makes sense. The reality is, DSR will go abroad - let's say Italy, for example - and will make a couple hundred thousand dollars next year. Making hundreds of thousands of dollars playing basketball in Italy definitely isn't the worst thing in the world. When you factor in that DSR is going to be 23 in eight months (seriously: did anyone realize he was that old?), and all of a sudden his decision makes perfect sense. The window in which one can have a successful professional basketball career is very small. DSR will be 23 by December, leaving him, give or take, eight or nine years to make a living playing basketball. We all know another year on the Hilltop was not going to change the fact that DSR is not tall or athletic enough to play in the NBA. It would just make him one year older - that's one more year playing without compensation, not to mention the injury risks. Also the idea that his decision only makes sense if his family is in a precarious financial situation is absurd. Regardless of his family's financial background, this decision maximizes DSR's earnings. Just as crazy is the idea that DSR is choosing to play professionally over finishing up his degree. Like other guys who have left early in the past, DSR can finish up his degree in the summer. He's forfeiting his collegiate eligibility, but it's not like he's forfeiting his degree. The degree will still be there, waiting for him, whenever he decides to finish school.
This is definitely shocking, but it's also the landscape of college basketball right now. The great players stay a year. The really good players stay two. And the good players, who can make a living play the sport but may not be NBA material, stay three or four. As long as the NCAA doesn't pay players, this will happen. There will be very nice college players, who leave a year early, not because they think they're going to be a lottery pick, but because they have nothing to gain from another year of college - of course there's your friends, experiences, the whole shabang - but there is nothing to be gained, from the perspective of his basketball career. DSR is looking out for himself, and there's nothing wrong with that. Anyone who thinks there is something wrong with that doesn't have the players' best interests at heart.
Let's not overreact either. DSR is a very good player - in the Clark, Freeman, and Markel category. He'll leave the Hilltop with almost 1,400 career points, 18th most in Hoya history. But the idea that under III, we've perennially been one player away from making a title run, and that DSR is that guy for next year's team is a little crazy, if not ridiculously optimistic. Georgetown was a solid this year that won a game in the tournament and was set to lose four key players (2.5 starters, since III eventually moved Mikael to 6th man). Next year's team had the potential to be a little better than this year's team. There shouldn't have been any Final Four delusions for next year's team, unless you expected each of the freshmen to make an Otto-esque freshman-to-sophomore year jump. DSR leaving hurts, mostly because of how thin the team will be at point guard. Unless - most likely, until - we add another guard, David Allen could legitimately be in the rotation, at least a little bit. But next year's roster had plenty of other question marks before DSR announced he was leaving. I mean, we didn't even know who the starting center was going to be, so it's not like this team was on the cusp of the Final Four.
But not all is lost. Next year's team will be led by its sophomores - Copeland, Peak, White, and Campbell. Next year's fate lies in their hands. They are the most important class since the Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert, Jonathan Wallace, and Tyler Crawford 2008 class. One would assume that Campbell, Peak, White, and Copeland would fill out the guard and forward positions in the starting lineup. That would be the first time in the JTIII era that four players from the same class all started together. If anything, taking DSR out of the mix forces those guys to take off the training wheels. Peak will have to learn how to bring the ball up court. Campbell will learn how to be the vocal leader of the team and how to run a college team, now that thCopeland will have to learn how to be the go-to-guy on a consistent basis. And White will have to keep everyone together, pitching in on the perimeter and in the paint when needed. There's something exciting, if not completely terrifying, about it all. The team lost its best player, but reinforcements are coming, and there will be more than enough pieces to make things interesting.