Projected NBA lottery pick Darius Garland withdraws from Vanderbilt to prepare for NBA Draft

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Injured Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland is withdrawing from school for the spring semester to prepare for the upcoming NBA Draft, he announced Wednesday.

Garland underwent surgery in late November to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, which was expected to be season-ending. He said he ultimately decided that turning his eyes toward his professional career, as opposed to staying in school and being around the team, was in his best interest.

"Unfortunately, I suffered a season-ending injury," Garland said. "After considerable deliberation with my family and medical staff, I am withdrawing from Vanderbilt this semester to prepare for the NBA Draft. I will be forever grateful to Vanderbilt and wish the program much success for the remainder of this season and beyond."

Despite Garland's injury, his stock remains high. He played only five games, but in that span showed flashes of a potential NBA starting point guard with his excellent ball-handling, vision and scoring ability. He averaged 16.2 points, 2.6 assists and shot 47.8 percent from 3 for the Commodores when he was healthy.

Garland is likely to be the second point guard taken in the 2019 NBA Draft, behind Murray State's Ja Morant, and could go as high as in the top five depending upon how his medicals check out and team needs that shuffle out this spring in the NBA. Given his talent, it's unlikely he falls outside the top 20 and is considered a lock to be a first-round selection.

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