Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino announced Monday that stars Montrezl Harrell and Terry Rozier will leave school early for the 2015 NBA Draft. The news comes just one day after the team fell to the Michigan State Spartans seconds shy of reaching the Final Four. Harrell, a junior forward, averaged 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest while garnering preseason All-American honors. On the other hand, Rozer racked up a team leading 17.1 points per game excelling after fellow guard Chris Jones was dismissed from the program.
“They’re both leaving, yes — 100 percent,” coach Rick Pitino told reporters at a Monday news conference. “And it’s the right thing to do for both of them.”
Despite being a number 4 seed, the Cardinals surprised many with their Elite Eight run proving to many why coach Pitino is one of the nation’s finest minds. The late season surprise has also been a major boost to both players’ draft stocks as Rozier and Harrell are each expected to be drafted in the middle to late first round. Still, there remains a strong chance that either player could be drafted within the lottery earning them some serious money.
“It was a remarkable thing to watch the evolution in a very short span,” Pitino said. “Because, I wanted it badly — not only for Wayne [Blackshear] and Montrezl and Terry — but I wanted the young guys, six of them, to see how much fun it could be. That if you work hard and get to this point.”
As is the case with every elite program, coach Pitino will be forced to replace some of his top players, but it will be no easy task to fill the voids left by Rozier and Harrell.
*Section Photo credit to Jeff Greer, USA TODAY Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports