Gabriele Procida

Draft Notes: Early Entrant Decisions, Bleijenbergh, K. Johnson

July 7 is the deadline for college early entrants who declared for the 2021 NBA draft to withdraw and maintain their NCAA eligibility. The NBA’s own withdrawal deadline for early entrants is July 19, but a college player who removes his name from the draft after today wouldn’t be able to play college ball next season.

With that in mind, we’re expecting several more updates before the end of the day on which players are going pro and which are returning to college.

Italian wing Gabriele Procida, Marquette forward Dawson Garcia, Southern Utah guard John Knight III, and Louisiana forward Dou Gueye are among the players withdrawing from the draft, according to reports from Jonathan Givony of ESPN, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, and Jeff Goodman of Stadium (all links go to Twitter). Garcia may transfer, with UNC, Arizona, and Illinois in the mix for his services, per Rothstein.

Conversely, Boston College forward Steffon Mitchell tells Rothstein (Twitter link) that he intends to remain in the draft, forgoing his final year of NCAA eligibility. Loyola Maryland forward Santi Aldama will also go pro rather than returning to college, a source tells Rothstein (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the draft:

  • Belgian wing Vrenz Bleijenbergh will keep his name in the draft, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Bleijenbergh, who will take part in the upcoming group workout in Minnesota, also has auditions lined up with the Thunder, Grizzlies, Kings, Hornets, and Mavericks, Givony reports.
  • Givony is joined by ESPN colleagues Mike Schmitz and Bobby Marks for an in-depth look at where things stand with the draft. The trio discusses how much trade action we should expect in the first round and suggests that Keon Johnson is one of the most polarizing prospects in this year’s class. Some teams have Johnson in the second tier of prospects alongside Jonathan Kuminga and Scottie Barnes, while others view him as a middle-to-late first-round flier, Givony writes.
  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report has shared a new version of his 2021 mock draft.

Draft Notes: Giddey, Pro Days, Combine, G League Elite Camp

Potential lottery pick Josh Giddey isn’t expected to attend the NBA draft combine in Chicago or any pre-draft workouts, tweets Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report. Instead, scouts will get a look at Giddey later this month when his Australian team travels to Las Vegas for exhibition games with Team USA, Spain, Nigeria and Argentina.

The 6’8″ shooting guard has been moving up draft boards and ranks No. 13 on ESPN’s latest list of prospects. Giddey, 18, played this season with the Adelaide 36ers and averaged 10.9 points, 7.1 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

Jared Butler, Others Enter 2021 NBA Draft

Ahead of Sunday’s early entry deadline, Baylor junior guard Jared Butler announced (via Twitter) that he was declaring for the 2021 NBA draft. While his announcement doesn’t explicitly state that he’s forgoing his remaining NCAA eligibility, it strongly suggests he intends to go pro.

While it took a while for him to make it official, Butler was always considered a good bet to enter this year’s draft following an impressive 2020/21 campaign in which he averaged 16.7 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 2.0 SPG on .471/.416/.780 shooting in 30 games (30.3 MPG) for the eventual national champs.

A consensus first-team All-American, Butler was named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after the Bears defeated Gonzaga in the championship game. He’s the No. 23 prospect on ESPN’s big board, making him a strong candidate to be a first-round pick in July.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Fresno State sophomore guard Deon Stroud is testing the draft waters while maintaining his NCAA eligibility, according to an announcement from the school (Twitter link). Stroud, who began his college career at UTEP, averaged 12.2 PPG on .482/.357/.613 shooting in 23 games (23.1 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Italian wing Gabriele Procida has declared for the draft, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who tweets that the 18-year-old is a projected second-round pick.
  • Givony also published a series of tweets listing several more international players who have entered the 2021 NBA draft pool. Those players are as follows (the countries listed represent where they last played, not where they were born):
  • Since the NBA’s early entry deadline has now passed, we should get a full, official list of early entrants from the league on Tuesday. In the meantime, our unofficial tracker is here.