11:30am: Zhou remains under contract with his Chinese team for at least one more season with no NBA buyout clause, Pick tells Hoops Rumors.
10:34am: Chinese center Zhou Qi will enter this year’s draft, league sources tell Shams Charania of The Vertical. Tony Leng, a representative for the 7’2″ 20-year-old, confirmed the news to international journalist David Pick, who hears Alex Saratsis of Octagon will serve as Zhou’s NBA agent (Twitter link). Opinions are split on Zhou’s potential, with Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress pegging him the 28th-best prospect in this year’s draft while Chad Ford of ESPN.com ranks him only 68th.
Zhou averaged 15.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in 34.2 minutes per game for Xinjiang Guanghui in the Chinese Basketball Association this season. The same team featured current and former NBA players Andray Blatche, Andrew Goudelock and Bryce Cotton, and several NBA teams saw Zhou in action, Pick notes (Twitter link). He had two points, three rebounds and two blocks in just over 12 minutes of play at last year’s Nike Hoop Summit, a premiere showcase that pits international talent against top U.S. high schoolers.
No guarantee exists that Zhou will remain in the draft, as international early entrants can withdraw as late as June 13th, since they don’t have to worry about NCAA eligibility. By NBA rule, he wouldn’t become automatically eligible for the draft until 2018, the year he turns 22. However, NBA scouts have questioned Zhou’s age, with some saying he’s already 22 and others saying he’s 24, as Pick reported in February (Twitter link).