Duke forward Jayson Tatum is the latest NCAA underclassmen to confirm that he’ll declare for the 2017 NBA draft. The school made it official today, announcing in a tweet that Tatum would test the draft waters. According to Evan Daniels of Scout.com, Tatum is also expected to hire an agent, forgoing his remaining college eligibility.
“It’s extremely exciting,” Tatum said. “It’s just another step closer to a life long dream that I’ve always had and it’s the next step and I’m happy to be taking it.”
Tatum’s decision comes as no surprise, since he is viewed as one of the top prospects on the board for the 2017 draft. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com and Chad Ford of ESPN.com both have the freshman ranked as the No. 4 overall prospect on their respective top 100 lists.
In his first – and likely only – year at Duke, Tatum filled up the stat sheet, averaging 16.8 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.3 SPG, and 1.1 BPG. According to Ford, the 6’8″ forward has “all the physical tools” to be a dominant small forward in the NBA, and there’s a good chance Tatum will be a top-five pick in June.
Tatum could ultimately be joined in the draft pool by some early-entry teammates from Duke. However, at this point, Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen are “up in the air” about testing the draft waters, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).