Sophomore big man Chimezie Metu would have had a good chance to be drafted if he had decided to go pro this year, but rather than entering the draft, he’ll return to USC for his junior season, the school confirmed on Monday, per Joey Kaufman of The Orange County Register. Metu announced the decision on Monday, publishing an Instagram photo with the caption “Year 3 coming soon…”
Metu, a 6’11” center, enjoyed a breakout season for USC in 2016/17, averaging 14.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 1.5 BPG. Although he’ll return to school for at least one more year, Metu is already considered a top-50 prospect by draft experts. He ranks 38th on DraftExpress’ big board, and 44th on ESPN’s.
According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Metu’s lack of strength, particularly in his lower body, is a cause for concern for some NBA scouts. However, if he’s able to add strength and weight to his frame in the coming year, he’s a potential first-round pick next summer. DraftExpress currently has the 20-year-old going 15th overall in its 2018 mock draft.
Metu’s return will be a boon for the Trojans, who won a game last month in the NCAA tournament, and could start next season as a top-25 program.