Stanford sophomore forward and potential lottery pick KZ Okpala has declared for the 2019 NBA draft, per Evan Daniels of 247Sports. Per new rules, he is permitted to sign with an NBA certified agent and still return to school if he withdraws his name by May 29.
“I have decided to declare for the NBA Draft,” Okpala said. “I have learned so much over these last two years at Stanford and am looking forward to continuing to improve along this journey. I am excited to see where it will take me.”
A rather interesting story, Okpala stood only 5’10” as a freshman in high school before spurting to a relatively incredible 6’7” as a senior. He is now listed at 6’9”. Because of his size, he wasn’t recruited by any high-major programs until late in his high school career, when Stanford saw him play on the AAU circuit.
As a sophomore this past season, Okpala averaged 16.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 APG while connecting on 36.8% of his three-point attempts. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony currently ranks Okpala as 2019’s No. 26 overall prospect, with his scouting report detailing how Okpala fits the modern NBA with his defensive versatility and greatly improved jumper. Per Givony, the 19-year-old may potentially generate some interest in back-end of the lottery.
In addition to Okpala, several other prospects have made themselves early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft:
- Javonte Smart, G, LSU (freshman) (via Instagram)
- Joe Wieskamp, G, Iowa (freshman) (Twitter link via Jeff Goodman of Stadium)
- Armoni Brooks, G, Houston (junior) (Twitter link via Jeff Goodman of Stadium)
- Emmitt Williams, F, LSU (freshman) (Twitter link via Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports)
- Four players from Xavier – Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall, Quentin Goodin, and Tyrique Jones (Twitter link via Jeff Goodman of Stadium)