Missouri juniors Laurence Bowers and Kim English have declared for the 2011 NBA draft, the university announced Monday afternoon.
Both players chose not to hire an agent and will maintain their academic standing, which gives them the option to return to Missouri by opting out of the draft before the May 8 deadline.
Former Tigers DeMarre Carroll and Leo Lyons were the last underclassmen tandem to declare for the draft. Both players returned to Missouri following the 2007-08 season to lead the Tigers to 31 wins and an Elite Eight appearance.
Bowers had a successful junior campaign for the Tigers, averaging 11.6 points to go along with a team-high 6.1 rebounds per game. The dynamic forward also blocked 62 shots, good for second in the Big 12. Bowers exhibited strong play late in the season, finishing with eight double-figure scoring games in his last 11.
“I think for anyone who plays college basketball, having a chance to play in the NBA is dream,” Bowers said in a news release. “I had a chance to talk with my family and other loved ones and this is something I want to do. This rule is in place to allow guys like us to explore their options and make an informed decision.”
After averaging a team-high 14 points per game in the 2009-10 season, English had a disappointing junior season. The Baltimore, Md., native averaged 10 points and three rebounds while struggling to find consistency on the offensive end.
Despite the down year, English said he was excited to test the new NBA waters.
“This is an opportunity I am looking forward to, to see where I stand as a basketball player,” English said in a news release. “I have loved my experience at Missouri, and I will make sure everything is in order for me to return if that’s the best decision for me and my family. This rule is in place for us, the player, so I want to take advantage of it and do what I can do to become a better all-around player.”
Neither player is projected to be drafted, and both fail to appear on ESPN analyst Chad Ford’s Top 100 Draft Prospects.
The announcement comes in the midst of a coaching transition, as newly appointed Frank Haith was officially announced Monday night.