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Syracuse’s Chris McCullough Plans to Declare for NBA Draft Despite ACL Injury

Syracuse freshman forward Chris McCullough plans to head to the 2015 NBA Draft despite tearing his ACL in January, according to RealGM’s Shams Charania.

McCullough enjoyed a strong start to the season, scoring in double figures in each of his first eight games at Syracuse. However, he failed to reach double digits in his last eight games before tearing his ACL on Jan. 11. On the season, the freshman averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 47.8 percent overall.

McCullough isn’t yet listed in DraftExpress’ 2015 mock draft, but he comes in at No. 21 in the 2016 version. He sits at No. 43 on the draft board of ESPN’s Chad Ford, who expects him to go either late in the first round or early in the second round.

Choosing to leave school early after an ACL tear is an interesting one, especially considering McCullough could have potentially played himself into a late lottery pick in 2016. He has the physical tools (6’9, 7’3 wingspan, athletic, skilled) to be a solid big man, although taking a guy coming off a major knee surgery can be risky. Still, if he could wind up being a first-round pick anyway, it may be for the better to come out now rather than risk getting hurt again in college.

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