Jared Butler

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:

Draft Notes: Lee, Daly, Butler, White, Lottery

Vanderbilt junior Saben Lee has signed with Wasserman Media Group and will remain in the draft, according to Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports. He is currently ranked No. 78 overall and No. 25 among point guard prospects by ESPN. Lee was named Second Team All-SEC last season and averaged 18.6 PPG. 3.5 RPG and 4.2 APG.

We have more draft-related news:

  • Baylor’s Jared Butler, St. Joe’s Ryan Daly and Stanford’s Tyrell Terry have signed with Mike Naiditch of Beyond Athlete Management, Jeff Goodman of Goodman Hoops tweets. Naiditch is an NCAA-certified agent, which means those players are eligible to return to college. Butler is the highest-rated player among the trio as ESPN’s No. 43 overall and No. 17 among point guards.
  • Arizona State forward Romello White has entered the transfer portal while still remaining an early entrant into the draft, Doug Haller of The Athletic tweets. White averaged 10.2 PPG and 8.8 RPG in his junior year.
  • Lottery-bound teams aren’t eager to restart the season and are now in limbo, Ben Golliver of the Washington Post opines. Those teams are focused on future seasons and now have to wait on those plans since the lottery and the draft combine were postponed last week.

Baylor’s Jared Butler Enters 2020 NBA Draft

Baylor sophomore guard Jared Butler has entered his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, he announced today (via Twitter). He’ll maintain his college eligibility throughout the process, leaving the door open for a return to Baylor.

The 41st overall prospect on ESPN’s big board for 2020, Butler averaged a team-high 16.0 PPG in 30 games (30.4 MPG) for Baylor as a sophomore, earning All-Big 12 honors. He also chipped in 3.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.6 SPG with a .381 3PT%.

Butler is the second Baylor underclassman to declare for the draft this spring, joining junior guard MaCio Teague. The Bears teammates are just two of nearly 150 names on our early entrants list so far. The deadline for early entrants to declare for the draft is Sunday, April 26.

As of now, Butler, Teague, and the rest of this year’s early entrants will have until early June to decide whether or not to stay in the draft, though that deadline could change if the NBA draft date does.