Maurice Calloo

Draft Decisions: Agbaji, Cockburn, Dickinson, Wong, More

Kansas wing Ochai Agbaji has decided to withdraw from the 2021 NBA draft and will return to school for his senior year, a source tells Jonathan Givony of ESPN.

Agbaji, who was the No. 67 prospect on ESPN’s big board, averaged 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game for the Jayhawks last year, knocking down 37.7% of his three-point attempts in 30 games (33.7 MPG). Agbaji projected as a potential second-round pick, according to Givony, who refers to him as one of the best defenders at the NCAA level.

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for early entrants in this year’s draft is on Wednesday, so there are plenty of other prospects making decisions on their future today. Here are a few of the other early entrants who are pulling out of the draft and returning to school:

While a number of prospects are removing their names from the 2021 draft pool, some early entrants have made the decision to go pro. UCLA’s Chris Smith is one, posting a farewell message to Bruins fans on Instagram. Sources tell Rothstein (Twitter link) that Saint Louis forward Hasahn French is also going pro rather than returning to college.

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.