Emmitt Williams

Draft Decisions: Bone, Harper, Simonds, Brooks, More

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for 2019’s early entrants is less than 12 hours away. Players who want to pull out of the draft and retain their college eligibility have until 11:59 pm eastern time tonight to officially do so.

We’re tracking all the players who have withdrawn from the draft on our early entrants list. Here are the latest decisions:

Staying in the draft:

  • Tennesee junior guard Jordan Bone announced in a video on Twitter that he’ll keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool. Bone is the No. 58 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a solid candidate to be drafted.
  • Auburn junior guard Jared Harper is expected to go pro too, keeping his name in the draft, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). Harper is at No. 64 on ESPN’s top-100 list.
  • Despite not showing up in ESPN’s top 100, Georgia State junior guard D’Marcus Simonds will also remain in the draft, forgoing his final year of his college eligibility, sources tell Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Another prospect outside of ESPN’s top 100, Houston junior guard Armoni Brooks, has announced (via Twitter) that he’ll stay in the draft and begin his professional career.

Withdrawing from the draft:

  • Gonzaga got some good news on Tuesday night, as a source informed Rothstein (Twitter link) that forward Filip Petrusev will return for his sophomore season. Additionally, Goodman reports (via Twitter) that forward Killian Tillie is expected to rejoin the Zags for his senior year.
  • Freshman forward Emmitt Williams, who was one of six LSU players to test the draft waters, will head back to school for at least one more season, a source tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Glenville State junior forward Phil Bledsoe told Kyle Boone of CBS Sports (Twitter link) that he has withdrawn from the draft. However, as Aaron Beard of The Associated Press explains, Bledsoe may have eligibility concerns going forward, since the new NCAA rule allowing prospects to hire an agent while testing the waters only applies to D-I players, rather than D-II players like Bledsoe. Agent Jerry Dianis remains confident that the NCAA will allow Bledsoe to return for his senior year.
  • A pair of early entrants are withdrawing from the draft and transferring. UNLV freshman forward Joel Ntambwe announced (via Twitter) that he’s making the move to Texas Tech, while SMU junior guard Jimmy Whitt will return to Arkansas, where he began his college career.
  • Mississippi State forward Reggie Perry announced in a Twitter video that he’ll be back for his sophomore season.
  • Boston College forward Nik Popovic is expected to take advantage of his final year of NCAA eligibility by going back to school for his senior season, sources tell Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Louisiana Tech junior guard DaQuan Bracey and South Florida junior guard Laquincy Rideau will both withdraw from the draft and return to school, according to a pair of tweets from Goodman.
  • Rothstein reports (via a pair of tweets) that TCU freshman center Kevin Samuel and Xavier junior guard Quentin Goodin will pull out of the draft after testing the waters.
  • Maryland junior guard Anthony Cowan is expected to withdraw from the draft tonight to return to school for one more year, tweets Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com.
  • Creighton guard Davion Mintz will report back to the Bluejays for his senior year, he tells Goodman (Twitter link). Goodman’s full list of prospects returning to school also includes UNC Greensboro junior forward James Dickey, so it appears he withdrew from the draft too.

Stanford’s KZ Okpala Declares For NBA Draft

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: