Carleton Scott's decision to remain in the NBA draft and give up his final year of eligibility came as a surprise to a lot of people.
The 6-foot-8 forward was coming off his first season as a starter at Notre Dame. He wasn't mentioned in two-round mock drafts. And he didn't appear on ESPN's list to top 100 players.
But after averaging 11.2 points and a team-high 7.4 rebounds last season, Scott said he is ready to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA.
Even if that means he doesn't get selected in the June 23 draft.
"I'm going to work my tail off to work up to that," Scott said Monday. "If it doesn't happen, then we have to go down a different road. Me and (coach Mike Brey) talked about everything. If that comes up, we will approach it when it happens."
Scott received good feedback since putting his name in the draft last month but not hiring an agent to leave open the possibility of returning for a final season at Notre Dame.
And after his performance at a pre-draft combine in New Jersey this past weekend Scott had enough information that led him to believe it was time to risk staying in the draft.
"When you think about his situation, I don't think you can think about him as an underclassman. He's not an underclassman. He's going to graduate from college in two weeks," Brey said. "I think that right there, with the kind of kids we get, puts them in a different mental frame of mind as far as where they are in their life.
"That coupled with some good feedback, especially from the workout in New Jersey, I talked to (New Jersey Nets general manager) Billy King. Billy King told me he was the best player in their workout. He's very intrigued by (Scott)."
Brey said the Nets and Miami Heat have already been in contact to set up individual workouts with Scott, and the coach is trying to help the forward get an invitation to the NBA draft combine in Chicago.
"You're just kind of jumping out there into the dark," Scott said. "I got a lot of positive feedback. I got some direction going positively, and I'm willing to take that chance."
Scott's decision to stay in the draft does leave the Irish with a big hole in their lineup.
He was Notre Dame's third-leading scorer last season, and he was also the Irish's top defensive player. Scott had a team-best 57 blocks.
"He covered up so much stuff," Brey said. "He played great post defense, defensive rebounded. A Jack Cooley becomes really important. He was going to be important any way. (Incoming freshman) Eric Katenda becomes very important with that length. He has a similar body type to Carleton, and I feel he can play right away for us."