LSU freshman shooting guard Antonio Blakeney will enter this year’s draft but hold off on hiring an agent, the school announced. He can return to college ball as long as he pulls out by May 25th and doesn’t hire an agent. He has at least an outside chance to be drafted this year if he doesn’t withdraw, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com lists him as the 87th-best prospect. The 6’4″ 19-year-old is outside the top 100 for Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, who nonetheless ranks him 35th among freshmen.
Blakeney was a well-regarded recruit coming out of high school last year, when he was 15th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index. LSU teammate Ben Simmons was No. 1 in those rankings, but the Tigers struggled this season, finishing 19-14 and failing to make the NCAA Tournament. Blakeney didn’t put up eye-popping stats, as he averaged 12.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game with 33.5% shooting from 3-point range. He struggled with inconsistency, scoring 32 and 31 points in games against Florida and Mississippi State, respectively, but totaling seven or fewer points on a dozen occasions.
Simmons and fellow LSU teammate Tim Quarterman are also entering the draft, but unlike Blakeney, they’re hiring agents, so they won’t be returning to the Tigers. Blakeney, who saw only 9.8 field goal attempts per game this season, would seemingly be in line for more offensive chances next year if he pulls out of the draft and goes back to LSU.