APRIL 26TH, 7:09pm: The NBA released its official early entrants roster and Blakeney’s name is among those listed, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com tweets. The freshman still can withdraw and return to school prior to the May 25th deadline, provided he doesn’t hire an agent.
APRIL 19TH, 2:09pm: LSU freshman shooting guard Antonio Blakeney has decided against entering the draft, the school announced. Blakeney earlier this month said he would go into the draft without an agent, a move that would allow him to work out for NBA teams and retain his college eligibility as long as he withdrew by May 25th, but it appears he’s had a change of heart and has decided against testing the waters. The 6’4″ 19-year-old was only a fringe draft prospect, ranking 94th in Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider listing and outside Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress top 100.
Blakeney entered college as a highly touted prospect, ranking 15th in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index, but his numbers underwhelmed as he averaged 12.6 points and 3.5 rebounds per game with 33.5% shooting from 3-point range. He stands to benefit from increased offensive opportunity next season, since teammates Ben Simmons, who’s a strong candidate to become the No. 1 pick this June, and Tim Quarterman are both staying in this year’s draft.
A lack of strength is one of Blakeney’s weaknesses, according to Ford, who also suggests he’d be undersized as an NBA two-guard. He averaged less than an assist per game, so work on his passing would probably benefit him even if he doesn’t end up converting to the point.