A pair of college big men who could be first-round picks in this June’s draft will enter their names without hiring an agent, according to a pair of Wednesday announcements. The University of Kentucky confirmed that freshman Bam Adebayo will test the draft waters, while Nathan Baird of The Journal & Courier writes that Purdue sophomore Caleb Swanigan will do the same.
Adebayo, who is the third UK prospect to declare for this year’s draft, following in the footsteps of teammates De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, is ranked as the 19th-best prospect on Chad Ford’s big board at ESPN.com and comes in at No. 30 on Jonathan Givony’s top 100 list at DraftExpress.com. In his first – and possibly only – season with Kentucky, the 6’9″ PF/C averaged 13.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG, and 1.5 BPG, shooting 59.9% from the floor.
In his analysis of Adebayo’s draft prospects, Ford notes that the 19-year-old’s inconsistency is worrisome for some scouts, but the ESPN draft guru believes the big man will come off the board between picks 15 and 25 if he stays in this year’s draft. Still, if he stays in school another year and has a more consistent sophomore season, he has the upside to become a top-10 pick in 2018, says Ford.
As for Swanigan, the sophomore power forward ranks a little lower on both ESPN’s and DraftExpress’ big boards, coming in at 28th and 32nd respectively. Swanigan enjoyed a breakout sophomore year with the Boilermakers, averaging 18.5 PPG and 12.5 RPG while boosting his 3PT% to .447. According to Ford, the 19-year-old is viewed as one of the most “complete” players in the NCAA this season, and could go in the 20s if he stays in the draft, though he’s not a first-round lock.
Both Adebayo and Swanigan will have until May 24 to withdraw their names from the draft pool and retain their NCAA eligibility.