Matt Lewis

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could mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.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 Decisions: Dennis, Lewis, Green, Teague, Camper, Vogt

As Sam Vecenie of The Athletic observes within his latest big board for the 2020 NBA draft, the unusual circumstances surrounding this year’s NBA and NCAA calendars have created an unprecedented situation for early entrants.

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for players to pull out of the 2020 draft class is August 3. However, the NBA is allowing early entrants to declare up until August 17, since the draft itself has been postponed until October.

As a result, Vecenie confirms, an NCAA underclassman who is struggling with his decision could withdraw by August 3, then re-enter by August 17 if he has change of heart. At that point, he’d be forgoing his remaining college eligibility, but it would essentially give him an extra two weeks to make up his mind.

With that detail in mind, here are a handful of updates on players withdrawing their names from the draft pool:

  • Wichita State guard Dexter Dennis will return to school for at least one more year, he announced on Twitter. Dennis averaged 9.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 28 games (25.8 MPG) as a sophomore for the Shockers.
  • James Madison guard Matt Lewis will head back to school for his senior season, he tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link). Lewis was, by far, the Dukes’ leading scorer in 2019/20, posting 19.0 PPG on .410/.373/.715 shooting in 30 games (35.6 MPG).
  • Northern Iowa’s AJ Green is withdrawing from the draft after testing the waters, a source tells Goodman (Twitter link). The 6’4″ guard is coming off a big sophomore year in which he averaged 19.7 PPG on .416/.391/.917 shooting in 31 games (34.8 MPG).
  • MaCio Teague is returning to Baylor for his senior year, he announced in a Twitter video. The 6’3″ guard previously spent two years at UNC Asheville before transfering to Baylor and averaging 13.9 PPG in 28 games for the Bears in 2019/20.
  • Siena swingman Manny Camper will return to school after testing the draft waters, the program announced in a press release. “Even though I couldn’t do a ton, it was still great to be able to get a little feedback from the NBA on what I need to work on and also what I do well that I can continue to improve on,” Camper said in a statement.
  • Cincinnati center Chris Vogt confirmed on Twitter that he’s rejoining the Bearcats for a “last go around.” The big man averaged 11.0 PPG and 5.9 RPG in 30 games (28.5 MPG) as a junior.

Draft Decisions: Dosunmu, C. Brown, Mahoney, More

Illinois sophomore guard Ayo Dosunmu is entering the 2020 NBA draft, as he tells Jon Rothstein of Yahoo Sports (video link). While Dosunmu didn’t explicitly say he’ll maintain his college eligibility throughout the process, he noted that he isn’t hiring an agent yet due to the uncertainty of this year’s pre-draft schedule.

Dosunmu, the 88th-ranked prospect on ESPN’s big board for 2020, recorded 16.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.3 APG on 48.4% shooting in 30 games (33.5 MPG) for Illinois in 2019/20. He becomes the second Illinois underclassman to declare for the ’20 draft, joining freshman big man Kofi Cockburn. The two teammates were the leading scorers for the Fighting Illini this past season.

Here are a few more updates on some of the latest draft decisions:

  • Wake Forest junior guard Chaundee Brown won’t be returning to the Demon Deacons for his senior season, reports Conor O’Neill of The Winston-Salem Journal. According to O’Neill, Brown is testing the draft waters — if he decides not to go pro, he’ll enter the transfer portal and play for another program.
  • Creighton junior guard Denzel Mahoney has declared for the 2020 draft while maintaining his eligibility, he announced on Twitter. Mahoney averaged 12.0 PPG on .421/.358/.838 shooting in 21 games (22.5 MPG) in 2019/20.
  • Matt Lewis, a junior guard at James Madison, tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’s entering the draft. Lewis scored a team-high 19.0 PPG to go along with 5.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, and a .373 3PT% in 2019/20.
  • Polish center Adrian Bogucki is entering the 2020 draft pool, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. The 20-year-old, who also tested the draft waters a year ago, averaged 10.9 PPG and 7.2 RPG for Rosa Radom in 22 Polish League games this past season.