Tigers' D-Washsigns with an agent
Guard's father confirms U of M career is over
By Ronald Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal
June 27, 2006
Encouraged by his predraft preparation and workouts, Darius Washington Jr. has decided to forgo his college eligibility just two days before Wednesday's NBA draft. Washington hired an agent Monday, ending his basketball career with the University of Memphis after two seasons.
Advertisement Washington is "confident and comfortable" with the decision, according to his father, Darius Washington Sr. "I've been with him throughout the process. I've talked to a lot of coaches and general managers myself," said Washington Sr., who shielded his son from agent inquiries before choosing San Antonio-based representative Roger Montgomery.
"I sat down with Darius and gave him feedback. We decided to go all the way and sign with an agent. It's time for me to step back. But we weren't going to jump at the first person."
Washington Sr. said he interviewed several agents and his family became comfortable with Montgomery, who also represents New Orleans' Desmond Mason and Detroit's Maurice Evans.
Montgomery now must work the phones on Washington's behalf but said his client already paved a solid road leading to vast interest in Wednesday's draft. Washington is projected to be selected somewhere between late in the first round and midway in the second.
Several NBA observers said Washington effectively answered questions about his ability to play under control at point guard.
Teams already were intrigued by Washington's scoring ability.
One of his most recent workouts at Seattle was described as impressive by an insider.
"This is not a decision made on impulse. This is a decision made on research," Montgomery said. "The Washington family has done a thorough investigation of this situation. Darius is an NBA player, so I'm not surprised he's going forward."
Washington participated in the NBA predraft camp in Orlando earlier this month. He's since worked out for several NBA teams, including Sacramento, Seattle, New Jersey, New Orleans Oklahoma City and Houston.
Teams have been turned on by Washington's NBA-quality strength and quickness.
"It's paramount that people in the NBA know that Darius is in the draft to stay," Montgomery said. "What's good is that Darius and his family understand the process. Darius has done his work, and it puts him in a situation to make this decision. Now, am I going to be able to find out exactly where he'll go? Probably not. But I can get a range."
The deadline for early entrants to withdraw from the draft was June 18.
Washington remained in the draft but could have returned to school with proof he paid for workout expenses and that he didn't sign with an agent.
Underclassmen are permitted to work with advisers as long as they don't arrange workouts with teams on the player's behalf. Washington Sr. said he's also kept financial records of expenditures so that his son could maintain eligibility.
NBA teams haven't told the Washingtons that Darius Jr. is in over his head.
"I haven't heard that once," Darius Sr. said. "All I've been told is that he's ready for the next level."
-- Ronald Tillery: 901-529-2353