Javonte Smart

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Another candidate to be picked in the second round has also withdrawn from the draft, with Chris Smith‘s father indicating that the UCLA forward is headed back to school, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).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

Draft Notes: Smart, Mack, Yurtseven, 2021 Draft

As we outlined on Monday morning, this year’s deadline for early entrants to declare for the 2020 NBA draft fell on Sunday night, meaning the league will soon be officially releasing its initial list of early entrants.

As we await that list, we’re still seeing a few more updates trickling in, so we’ll pass along a couple of those in the space below — and take an early look at how this year’s early entry list will impact the 2021 draft class…

  • LSU sophomore guard Javonte Smart has declared for the draft while maintaining his college eligibility, he announced on Instagram. Smart, who presumably submitted his paperwork by Sunday night, averaged 12.5 PPG, 4.2 APG, and 3.5 RPG on .415/.326/.814 shooting in 31 games (34.2 MPG) for the Tigers.
  • Sophomore guard Cam Mack, who previously said he was entering the draft, announced on Twitter that he has changed course and has instead decided to transfer. Mack averaged 12.0 PPG and 6.4 APG in 28 games for Nebraska in 2019/20, but won’t be returning to the Cornhuskers, who suspended him indefinitely near the end of the season.
  • Georgetown big man Omer Yurtseven will enter the draft and won’t return to college, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports tweets. Born in Turkey, Yurtseven averaged 15.5 PPG and 9.8 RPG in 26 games with the Hoyas. The 7-footer also played two seasons with North Carolina State.
  • ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Insider link) has updated his 2021 mock draft, removing players who have declared for the 2020 draft and listing Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green as the current favorites to go first and second overall. Both Cunningham and Green would likely be No. 1 on big boards in 2020 if they were eligible to be drafted this year, Givony adds.

Draft Notes: Bol, Williams, Herro, Smart

With the 2019 NBA Draft Combine now over, ESPN’s Mike Schmitz and Kevin Pelton discuss the 2019 NBA Draft prospects whose stock rose or fell over the weekend, beginning with Croatian forward Luka Samanic, whose performance in his first game at the combine was good enough for him to shut himself down and put his name squarely within the first-round conversation.

The other players who impressed scouts and improved their stock include Florida State’s Terance Mann, Georgia’s Nicolas Claxton, Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby, and LSU’s Tremont Waters. Pelton was particularly impressed by Waters’ ability to knock down the NBA-three-pointer from off the dribble, an important skill in today’s NBA for a point guard.

As for those prospects who may have lowered their value, the list begins with two very productive All-American college big men – Tennessee’s Grant Williams and Kansas’ Dedric Lawson. Per the ESPN scribes, both may have put too much emphasis on their developing outside games during 5-on-5 action.

Additionally, Western Kentucky big man Charles Bassey and Utah State big man Neemias Queta both underwhelmed, with Schmitz saying both need improvement in different areas of the game (e.g. skill, fluidity, motor) before being ready to contribute at the NBA level.

There’s more from the lead-up to this year’s NBA Draft this afternoon:

  • If the Wizards are interested in a high risk-high reward option with the No. 9 overall selection, Oregon’s Bol Bol may be an intriguing pick, writes Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington.
  • Despite struggling at the combine, Grant Williams does not regret playing in the 5-on-5 sessions, telling Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer that he’s “not just trying to show I can shoot, I’m showing I can defend… Be out there and be that guy who was there to win, and cheering on his teammates… I know that defensively I could have been a little better contesting shots. Being analytical — like I normally am — I play different guys certain ways, and that bit me a little bit.” Williams was dinged a bit for only measuring in at 6’6” and potentially being caught up in the “tweener” label.
  • The Celtics have three first-round picks, and while they may not end up keeping all of them, one prospect to keep an eye on for one of their selections is Kentucky guard Tyler Herro. Herro spoke with Boston brass at the combine and said they will be among the handful of teams he will workout for leading up to the draft, per A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.
  • LSU freshman guard Javonte Smart is withdrawing his name from the 2019 NBA Draft and returning for his sophomore season in Baton Rouge, tweets Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports.

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: