Aristide Mouaha

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mean a number of things — they may have decided against entering the draft; they may have entered the draft, then withdrawn; they may have incorrectly filed their paperwork; or the NBA may have accidentally omitted some names.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

The NCAA’s withdrawal deadline for the 2020 NBA draft has long since passed, but the NBA’s own deadline falls 10 days before the draft. That means that a number of international prospects – for whom the NCAA deadline didn’t apply – face final decisions on whether or not to keep their names in this year’s draft pool.

Cameroonian guard Aristide Mouaha and Italian forward Michele Ebeling are two international early entrants who have decided to pull out of the draft, according to a pair of reports from Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Both prospects are currently playing in Italy. Ebeling will become automatically draft-eligible in 2021, while Mouaha is on track to be draft-eligible in 2022 if he doesn’t re-enter his name next year.

As our tracker shows, we still have 34 international prospects listed as early entrants for 2020. It’s safe to assume that many more will withdraw before the November 8 deadline — I’d expect that list to be cut at least in half within the next couple days.

Here’s more on the 2020 NBA draft:

  • Former Memphis big man Precious Achiuwa worked out for the Wizards earlier this week and is working out for the Celtics on Friday, according to Adam Zagoria of Forbes (Twitter link). Achiuwa is the 12th overall prospect on ESPN’s big board, so both Washington at No. 9 and Boston at No. 14 could in play for him.
  • In a pair of Insider articles for, Jonathan Givony, Mike Schmitz, and Kevin Pelton discuss the best wings and big men of this year’s draft class. All three experts rate Deni Avdija as the top wing in the draft, with Givony and Schmitz placing Isaac Okoro second while Pelton takes Devin Vassell. In a bit of a surprise, both Givony and Schmitz pick Onyeka Okongwu over James Wiseman as the top big man prospect.
  • While the Knicks’ No. 8 pick has been the main focus, the team is working diligently on its options at No. 27 and 38 and is hoping to find a “diamond in the rough,” a source tells Marc Berman of The New York Post. Berman examines former Arizona shooting guard Josh Green and Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. as a couple potential late-first-round options for New York, citing one talent evaluator who says Green would be a “perfect fit” for the team.

Draft Notes: Ado, Hart, Velicka, Mouaha

Following the first round of the NFL’s first ever virtual draft on Thursday, we have a better idea of what that “virtual draft” actually looks like. Which means, as Zach Harper of The Athletic writes, the NBA can evaluate what works and what doesn’t as the league prepares for the possibility that it will have to conduct its 2020 draft in a similar manner.

Harper pointed to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s appearance on the telecast and the presence of prospects’ family members and pets as things that worked, but wasn’t a fan of the national anthem to start the night, commissioner Roger Goodell’s wooden delivery, and the looping videos of fans on a screen behind Goodell.

As we wait to see what exactly the 2020 NBA draft will look like, here are a few updates on players entering the draft pool:

  • Mississippi State center Abdul Ado has entered the 2020 draft, as Joel Coleman of The Starkville Daily News writes. Ado, who averaged 5.7 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 1.9 BPG as a junior this past season, will be maintaining his college eligibility during the process and will likely end up returning for his senior year in 2020/21 after getting feedback from NBA evaluators, a source tells Coleman.
  • Fresno State freshman guard Niven Hart has announced (via Twitter) that he’ll be testing the draft waters following a 2019/20 season in which he averaged 8.7 PPG with a .398 3PT% in 26 games off the bench for the Bulldogs.
  • Lithuanian point guard Arnas Velicka, who tested the draft waters a year ago, has entered the 2020 draft, as reported by David Hein and confirmed by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter links). Velicka, who spent the 2019/20 season on loan to CBet Prienai from Zalgiris Kaunas, has been a standout for Lithuania’s junior national teams in FIBA competitions, Givony notes.
  • Cameroonian guard Aristide Mouaha has declared for the draft, agent Mario Scotti announced on Twitter (hat tip to Sportando). The 19-year-old played this past season for the Roseto Sharks in Italy’s Serie A2 league.