Gonzaga’s junior power forward Rui Hachimura has entered his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool, he announced on Monday. According to a press release from the program, Hachimura will hire an agent and pursue a professional career.
“The last three years at Gonzaga have been a dream come true, and now I’d like to pursue my next dream of playing in the NBA,” Hachimura said in a statement. “This was a significant decision for my family and myself. I just want to thank everyone at Gonzaga, especially the coaching staff and all of my teammates who went to battle with me and are my brothers for life.”
The West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Hachimura took a huge step forward in his junior year for the Zags, averaging 19.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 1.5 APG while shooting 59.1% from the field.
Hachimura is ranked 18th on ESPN’s big board, though Jeff Goodman of Stadium notes (via Twitter) that many NBA executives believe he’ll be drafted in the 8-to-15 range. Wherever he comes off the board, the 21-year-old is set to become the first Japanese player ever selected in the NBA draft.
As Mike Schmitz details in ESPN’s scouting report, Hachimura projects as a versatile frontcourt defender and has a promising shooting touch, though he’s much stronger from mid-range than from beyond the arc. The 6’9″ forward has an “intriguing physical profile” for a modern power forward, Schmitz writes.