Jay Huff

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:

205 Early Entrants Declare For 2020 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2020 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 205 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 163 are from colleges, while 42 are international early entrants.

That number falls just short of the previous record for early entrants, established in 2018. Two years ago, 236 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 91 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline. A year ago, 233 early entrants declared, with 98 remaining in the draft.

This year’s total of 205 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by June 3 and again by June 15, the two tentative deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool — assuming those dates aren’t pushed back. But it still looks like the pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants likely to exceed 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our list of early entrants is now up to date and can be found right here. Here are today’s updates:

College underclassmen:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our own list.

The following players reportedly declared for the draft or planned to, but weren’t named in the NBA’s official announcement today. As such, we’ve removed them from our list.

International players:

The following players were listed on the NBA’s official breakdown today, but weren’t yet noted on our list.

  • Philippe Bayehe, F, Italy (born 1999)
  • Vinicius Da Silva, C, Spain (born 2001)
  • Imru Duke, F, Spain (born 1999)
  • Michele Ebeling, F, Italy (born 1999)
  • Dut Mabor, C, Italy (born 2001)
  • Sergi Martinez, F, Spain (born 1999)
  • Joel Parra, F, Spain (born 2000)
  • Mouhamed Thiam, C, France (born 2001)
  • Andrii Voinalovych, F, Ukraine (born 1999)