By John Fanta
Ty-Shon Alexander will forego his senior season at Creighton and stay in the NBA Draft, he announced on his instagram page Tuesday evening.
After the junior announced just 11 days ago that he would test the waters, but was leaning towards the draft, Alexander has elected to go forward with his choice. Alexander is joining the PROSPORTS Management family, signing with agent Nate Conley.
While this was expected, the official announcement is major news for Creighton and the Big East heading into next season. Alexander, an All-Big East First Team selection this past year, averaged 16.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the Jays. He was also the top defender in the Big East according the kenpom and was one of the best defending wings in the country.
In a media availability session on April 10, Alexander said this in reference to what had him thinking the NBA could be his best choice as his next landing spot:
“Playing (professionally), that would just be my main focus. That’s going to be my job,” he said. “I have to put everything, my mindset, everything into playing the game of basketball. Day and night, I always got to be thinking of being in the gym and putting up extra shots, making sure my body is healthy, doing rehab sessions, getting stronger, doing the little things, where I know that two to three years of being in the league, where I know that I’ll be ready for the spotlight. I know that if I had a chance to play in the NBA right now, that I will work my hardest every single day because I want to get better no matter what.”
All this said, Alexander had until June 3 in the tentative NBA Draft timeline to make his decision, although he said on April 10 that he and Creighton head coach Greg McDermott agreed that he would inform McDermott of his decision by some point in May. With the draft possibly getting pushed back to “no sooner than August 1,” according to ESPN’s Adrain Wojnarowski, Alexander may have had more time in his process and a chance to bring back some more research or even hold some sort of a workout. But, this confirms the early reports that Alexander was leaning towards the NBA even when he formally announced he was testing the waters less than two weeks ago.
“Being drafted in the second round, that’s not a really big deal to me,” said Alexander on April 11, indicating that he’s fine if he is just drafted. He added that he would not be opposed to a potential two-way contract if he went undrafted, meaning he can see time in the NBA G-League and NBA.
How does this impact Creighton? In the “way too early” Top 25 polls for next season, the Bluejays were a consensus top-five team. Without Alexander, Creighton still has two talented backcourt players in AP All-America Honorable Mention Marcus Zegarowski and sharpshooting lefty Mitch Ballock. That said, the debate of the top team in the preseason poll out of the Big East is over. Whether or not Saddiq Bey stays in the NBA Draft or returns to Villanova does not matter. The Wildcats will find themselves in the #1 spot in the poll, barring something crazy happening.
While Creighton should still be considered #2, the door has opened a bit more in terms of the separation between the Jays and the rest of the pack. Look for Seton Hall, who formally announced Monday the addition of Harvard impact grad transfer Bryce Aiken and has two open scholarships, as well as Providence, who will add four players on top of a strong core of David Duke, AJ Reeves and Nate Watson, and others to be more of a threat than they would have been on paper had Alexander come back.
If Alexander is drafted, he would be the fourth Bluejay since 2014 to be selected (Doug McDermott – 2014, Justin Patton – 2017, Khyri Thomas – 2018).
“We have a great system at Creighton,” said Alexander on April 11. “We play hard. We have great conditioning. We have probably the best weightlifting coaches probably in basketball in my opinion. We call ourselves a family, and we push ourselves every single day on and off the court, and no matter what we always find a way to get things done.”
For the latest on college basketball, you can follow @John_Fanta on Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.