Jeremiah Tilmon

NBA Announces Initial Early Entrant List For 2021 Draft

The NBA has officially released the initial list of early entrants for the 2021 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 353 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 296 are from colleges, while 57 are international early entrants.

That number obliterates the previous record of 236 early entrants, established in 2018. That had been expected, however, since the NCAA gave players an extra year of eligibility due to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in seniors having to decide between staying at college for one more season or declaring for the draft as an “early” entrant.

Since well over half of the college early entrants are seniors, there are actually fewer college underclassmen than usual in this initial group of early entrants.

This year’s total of 353 early entrants figures to shrink significantly by July 7 and again by July 19, the two deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like the pool will remain extremely crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants certain to exceed 60, the number of picks in the draft.

Our tracker of early entrants for the 2021 draft now includes seniors and is fully up to date. It can be found right here. It doesn’t include players who are automatically draft-eligible this year. As Jonathan Givony of ESPN tweets, that list of auto-eligible players includes the prospects who played for the G League Ignite, such as Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga.

Here are the changes we made to our tracker today:


Newly-added players:

College players:

These players hadn’t previously been included on our unofficial list of underclassmen early entrants and weren’t on the list of senior early entrants that the NBA sent to teams last week.

International players:

These players weren’t previously mentioned on our list of international early entrants. The country listed here indicates where they last played, not necessarily where they were born.


Players removed:

Despite reports or announcements that the players below would declare for the draft, they didn’t show up on the NBA’s official list.

That could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.

In any case, we’ve removed the following names from our early entrant list for the time being.

Draft Notes: Tilmon, M. Smith, Early Entrants

After Missouri guard Xavier Pinson announced earlier this week that he was pulling out of the 2020 NBA draft to return to school for another year, a pair of his teammates who had been testing the waters have followed suit.

According to Mizzou Hoops (Twitter link), forwards Jeremiah Tilmon and Mitchell Smith are also returning to the Tigers for their senior seasons in 2020/21.

Neither Tilmon nor Smith was a full-time starter at Missouri this past season. Tilmon averaged 8.2 PPG and 4.4 RPG in 17 games (19.9 MPG), while Smith recorded 5.1 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 30 games (21.9 MPG). They’ll each play one more season in college before becoming automatically draft-eligible in 2021.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • NCAA prospects who are testing the draft waters have until August 3 to decide whether or not to withdraw. As Jeff Goodman of Stadium writes, many players still weighing their decisions would like more time, given the uncertainty surrounding the 2020/21 NCAA season and the lack of an NBA combine so far. “It would definitely help (to extend the withdrawal deadline),” Iowa’s Luka Garza said. “The last week has been very stressful mentally thinking about it all. I don’t know what to do.”
  • Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype takes a closer look at Garza and several other prospects who are still testing the waters, examining whether or not it makes sense for them to stay in the draft.
  • The Athletic’s beat writers for the Knicks, Hawks, Warriors, Pistons, and Cavaliers conducted a mini-mock draft for the first five picks, based on a Tankathon simulation. The results were interesting, with Mike Vorkunov taking Anthony Edwards for New York at No. 1, Chris Kirschner selecting Deni Avdija for Atlanta at No. 2, and LaMelo Ball slipping to Detroit at No. 4.
  • Bryant guard Benson Lin has decided to forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and play professionally in China next season, a source tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Lin could technically still enter this year’s draft, since the entry deadline has been pushed back. However, he can go pro without doing so, and Rothstein’s report doesn’t mention the draft.

Draft Decisions: Alston, Mizzou, Diarra, French, More

Boise State forward Derrick Alston Jr. has entered his name in the 2020 NBA draft pool, he announced on Twitter. He’ll leave the door open for a possible return to school for his senior season.

Alston, who comes in at No. 98 on ESPN’s big board of 2020 draft prospects, averaged 17.3 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 3.1 APG in 32 games (33.0 MPG) in 2019/20. His three-point shooting fell off as his volume increased, dipping from 38.4% as a sophomore to 33.5% as a junior.

Alston’s father, Derrick Alston Sr., is a former NBA player who is currently the head coach of the Westchester Knicks, New York’s G League affiliate.

Here are more early entrant draft decisions from across the NCAA:

  • Three Missouri players – sophomore guard Xavier Pinson and junior forwards Mitchell Smith and Jeremiah Tilmon – will test the draft waters, according to a press release from the school. All three played part-time roles for the Tigers in 2019/20, with Pinson averaging 11.1 PPG, good for second-best on the roster.
  • Jeff Goodman of Stadium reports a pair of early entries, tweeting that Eastern Kentucky sophomore guard Jomaru Brown and Vermont junior guard Stef Smith are declaring. A source expects Smith to return to school, Goodman notes.
  • According to Goodman (via Twitter), Kansas State junior guard Cartier Diarra is testing the draft waters. If he decides to withdraw, he’ll transfer to Virginia Tech.
  • Saint Louis junior forward Hasahn French and junior guard Jordan Goodwin are testing the draft waters, according to the school. Goodwin was Saint Louis’ leading scorer with 15.5 PPG, while French chipped in 12.4 PPG. Both players averaged double-doubles, with an impressive 10.4 RPG apiece.
  • Isiaha Mike (SMU), Nate Pierre-Louis (Temple), Paul Atkinson Jr. (Yale), and Aamir Simms (Clemson) each announced on their personal Twitter accounts that they’re entering the draft while maintaining their NCAA eligibility.

233 Early Entrants Declare For 2019 NBA Draft

The NBA has released the official list of early entrants for the 2019 NBA draft, announcing in a press release that 233 players have filed as early entry candidates. Of those prospects, 175 are from colleges, while 58 are international early entrants.

That number falls just short of the previous record for early entrants, established in 2018. Last year, 236 early entrants declared for the draft, though ultimately only 91 of those prospects remained in the draft by the final deadline.

This year’s total of 233 early entrants also figures to shrink significantly by May 29 and again by June 10, the two key deadlines for players to withdraw their names from the draft pool. But it still looks like that pool will remain crowded, with the eventual number of early entrants almost certainly exceeding 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.

The following international 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.

Draft Updates: K. Johnson, Silva, Lawson, Toppin, More

Like Kentucky teammates PJ Washington and Tyler Herro, freshman guard Keldon Johnson has decided that he’ll keep his name in the 2019 NBA draft pool rather than leaving the door open to return to the Wildcats, the school announced in a press release.

Johnson’s decision to forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility doesn’t come as a real surprise. Like Washington and Herro, Johnson is projected to be a first-round pick, coming in as the No. 20 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s big board at ESPN.com.

Speaking of that big board, another prospect in that top 100 has declared for the 2019 NBA draft, according to Givony, who reports that Brazilian wing Marcos Lousada Silva has submitted the necessary paperwork.

Silva, the 61st overall prospect on ESPN’s board, impressed scouts and executives at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland, and has had a productive season in the Brazilian league. NBA scouts have taken notice of the youngster’s high energy level and defensive versatility, Givony adds.

The following prospects are also testing the 2019 NBA draft waters as early entrants, joining the ever-growing list: