Per CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman, Texas A&M forward Khris Middleton will be leaving school for the NBA draft.
If the report is accurate, the decision is likely to be roundly criticized. Middleton averaged 13.2 points and just over 5 boards per game for an Aggie squad that, quite frankly, underachieved badly, finishing 14-18 on the season, and winning just four games in the Big 12. At 6’7″ and 210 lbs., Middleton doesn’t have prototypical pro size, and he has not, to date, shown exceptional skill as a ballhandler, shooter or defender, either. He took just 77 shots in an injury-shortened junior season in College Station, making 20, and is projected by most recruiting analysts to be no better than a second-round pick.
Middleton’s third season at A&M was his first under Billy Kennedy, so this may be delayed fallout from the coaching change precipitated by Mark Turgeon’s late-breaking move to Maryland in 2011. The Aggies were already in a rough spot, losing seniors David Lobeau and Dash Harris to attrition, but the defection of Middleton will leave the team dangerously short of proven frontcourt talent. Kennedy has landed 2012 commits from three highly-rated guards, but has only the hilariously-named 6’5″ Billydee Williams in his sights for a frontcourt position. Expect A&M to pursue a game-ready JuCo player or two if Middleton flies the coop.