Darius Days

Draft Notes: Griffin, Robinson, Stevenson, More

Syracuse swingman Alan Griffin won’t be returning to the Orange for his senior year, having opted to go pro and forgo his remaining college eligibility. Griffin announced the decision in a video on Twitter, as Mike Waters of Syracuse.com relays.

After spending two years at Illinois, Griffin transferred to Syracuse for his junior season and emerged as a starter, averaging 13.3 PPG 5.8 RPG, and 1.6 BPG in 28 games (29.3 MPG).

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

Jared Butler, Aaron Henry Among Prospects Withdrawing From Draft

A pair of early-entry prospects who were ranked within the top 60 on ESPN’s big board have pulled out of the draft in advance of Monday’s withdrawal deadline.

Baylor guard Jared Butler was one of those two players, announcing in a Twitter video on Monday morning that he has decided to return to the Bears for his junior year. Butler explained his decision in a conversation with ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“After going through this process, making an important decision for the rest of my life, I truly felt like I couldn’t go wrong with either decision,” Butler said. “It came down to making the most out of my development as a player and as an adult. In the end I felt like coming back to school would set me up in both aspects in a way that I couldn’t deny. Even though the opportunity to reach my dream of playing in the NBA was readily at hand, I think next year it will still be there, possibly even with greater opportunities.”

Butler emerged as Baylor’s leading scorer in 2019/20 as a sophomore, averaging 16.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 30 games (30.4 MPG). He also showed improvement on his outside shot, making 38.1% of 6.7 three-point attempts per contest. He came in at No. 46 on Givony’s top-100 list at ESPN.com, making him a strong candidate to be drafted had he decided to go pro.

Meanwhile, Michigan State swingman Aaron Henry has also decided to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, as Givony writes in a separate story. Henry had been the No. 55 prospect on ESPN’s big board.

Henry’s numbers as a sophomore in 2019/20 were somewhat modest — 10.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 2.9 APG in 30 games (29.1 MPG). However, Givony describes him as a “long, athletic wing with strong two-way potential” and points out that he’s in position to take on a larger role for a Spartans team that won’t have Cassius Winston back next season.

“Cassius leaves big shoes to fill. He was asked to do everything for Michigan State,” Henry told ESPN. “I’m hoping to step into a bigger role with the ball in my hands. Things will definitely look different. Everyone is going to need to step up and be a piece to the puzzle. NBA teams want to see me in a bigger role. They want to see me be the man on a team. I’m not afraid of that. Let’s get to it.”

Here are a few more early entrants who tested the waters and have now pulled out of the draft ahead of Monday’s withdrawal deadline:

Malachi Flynn Among Prospects Entering 2020 NBA Draft

San Diego State junior point guard Malachi Flynn has elected to enter the 2020 NBA draft and forgo his remaining college eligibility, as he tells ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

Flynn, who transferred to the Aztecs after starting his college career at Washington State, had a breakout season in 2019/20, averaging 17.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, 4.5 RPG, and 1.8 SPG with a .441/.373/.857 shooting line in 32 games (33.4 MPG). He was named the Mountain West Player and Defensive Player of the Year.

With a 30-2 record, San Diego State was in position for a top seed in the NCAA tournament, and Flynn told Givony he regrets not getting an opportunity to attempt a Final Four run.

“It was a tough decision deciding to declare,” Flynn said. “One of the biggest things that had me wanting to come back was not playing in March Madness. I talked to a lot of people about it, especially my family. My coaches were on board with me going all-in and trying to make a name for myself at the next level, which helped me out a lot. I think I showed teams enough, and it was time to make that step and move forward to the NBA.”

Currently the No. 43 overall prospect on ESPN’s big board, Flynn would have been a strong contender to go in the first round if he had led the Aztecs to a few March Madness wins, writes Givony.

Here are more updates on players declaring for the draft:

  • UMass-Lowell junior guard Obadiah Noel and LSU sophomore forward Darius Days are entering the draft while hiring agent Austin Walton of Next Sports, a source tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). Because Walton is NCAA-certified, Noel and Days will retain their college eligibility throughout the process.
  • 18-year-old Greek forward Nikos Rogkavopoulos, a member of AEK Athens, has entered the 2020 draft, writes Stefan Djordjevic of EuroHoops.
  • A pair of Turkish prospects, 21-year-old shooting guard Sehmus Hazer and 21-year-old power forward Yigitcan Saybir, have declared for the draft, per Bugra Uzar of EuroHoops. Hazer plays for Teksut Bandirma, while Saybir is a member of Anadolu Efes.