Chris Smith (UCLA)

John Petty, Chris Smith, Javonte Smart Withdrawing From Draft

Alabama wing John Petty has elected to return to school for his senior year after testing the draft waters, reports Cecil Hurt of The Tuscaloosa News (Twitter link).

Petty, who declared for the draft as an early entrant this spring, averaged 14.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG, and 2.5 APG with an impressive .440 3PT% in 29 games (33.5 MPG) as a junior. He ranked 53rd on ESPN’s list of the top 100 prospects of 2020, making him a candidate to be drafted, but he has decided to wait another year before going pro.

Another candidate to be picked in the second round has also withdrawn from the draft, with Chris Smith‘s father indicating that the UCLA forward is headed back to school, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).

The No. 65 prospect on ESPN’s big board, Smith had a breakout junior season for the Bruins increasing his scoring average to 13.1 PPG while also contributing 5.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, and 1.0 SPG in 31 contests (28.3 MPG).

LSU guard Javonte Smart is also pulling out of the draft, Rothstein tweets. Smart, who doesn’t rank among ESPN’s top 100, recorded 12.5 PPG and 4.2 APG in 31 games (34.2 MPG) in his sophomore season in 2019/20.

Monday represents the deadline for college early entrants to withdraw from the draft and maintain their NCAA eligibility. That deadline arrives at midnight tonight, as Rothstein tweets.

Because of the draft postponement, the deadline to declare for the draft as an early entrant actually doesn’t arrive for another two weeks. So if a player like Petty, Smith, or Smart has second thoughts by August 17, he could technically re-enter the draft, as long as he’s prepared to forgo his remaining college eligibility.

UCLA’s Chris Smith, Others Declare For 2020 Draft

UCLA junior forward Chris Smith is among the latest early entrants to declare for the 2020 NBA draft, telling Jonathan Givony of ESPN that he’s “100% committed to the process.”

Smith, who was named the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player last month, averaged 13.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, and 1.6 APG in 31 games (28.3 MPG), with a shooting line of .458/.341/.840.

Givony, who has Smith coming in at No. 72 on ESPN’s big board for 2020, notes that the UCLA forward is the youngest junior in ESPN’s top 100, since he enrolled in college as a 17-year-old — he just turned 20 in December.

Givony adds that Smith’s age, improving shot, and defensive versatility will make him an intriguing target for NBA teams. However, Smith is the sort of prospect who may have benefited from in-person workouts and interviews, which likely won’t be possible during this year’s pre-draft process, as we detailed on Monday.

Here are a few more of the latest early entrants for the 2020 draft:

  • Stanford guard Tyrell Terry will test the 2020 draft waters, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Terry, who is ranked by ESPN as the 20th-best freshman prospect, is considered one of the country’s best young shooters, having knocked down 40.8% of his three-pointers and 89.1% of his free throws in 2019/20.
  • North Carolina State recruit Josh Hall will test the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. Hall, a former standout forward at Moravian Prep, previously re-classified from the 2019 recruiting class to 2020, so he has the option of going pro or joining the Wolfpack for next season.
  • Utah sophomore swingman Both Gach is declaring for the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he tells Evan Daniels of 247Sports (Twitter link). Gach averaged 10.7 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.9 APG in 27 games (30.4 MPG) as a sophomore, but struggled with his shot, making just 39.7% of his field goals and 25.0% of his threes.