Tevonn Walker

Draft Updates: Pinson, Knicks, Ntilikina, Jeanne

UNC forward Theo Pinson, who had been testing the draft waters, will return to North Carolina for his senior season, the school announced today in a press release.

“It was a dream of mine to play college basketball at the best school and in the best league in the country, and it is a dream of mine to play in the NBA as well,” Pinson said in a statement. “The best path for me to reach the league and have a long career there is to have a great senior season and I am so excited to have that opportunity to play another year for Coach Williams and finish my degree as well.”

Here are a few more draft-related odds and ends, including more news on players withdrawing their names:

  • The Knicks are currently projected to pick seventh overall, meaning top point guards like Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., and De’Aaron Fox may be off the board. However, the Knicks like French point guard Frank Ntilikina and would consider him at No. 7, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who reports that GM Steve Mills is overseas scouting the 18-year-old this week. Berman also notes that Ntilikina is among the many top prospects who will miss this year’s draft combine.
  • Jonathan Jeanne, a 7’2″ center from France, has been invited to the NBA’s draft combine and has tentatively accepted, despite his season not being over, tweets Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com. Jeanne, who is the No. 36 prospect on DraftExpress’ big board, is an international early entrant, so he’d have the option of withdrawing his name if he doesn’t get great feedback at the combine in Chicago.
  • Randy Onwuasor, a Southern Utah shooting guard, has elected to take his name out of the draft and will return to school for his senior year, coach Todd Simon tells Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
  • Valparaiso junior Tevonn Walker will also be heading back to school for another year, according to Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports, who reports that Walker is withdrawing his name after testing the draft waters. The 6’2″ guard wasn’t expected to be selected if he’d stayed in the draft.

NBA Confirms 182 Early Entrants For 2017 Draft

With the deadline for early entrants to enter the 2017 NBA draft now behind us, the league has officially released the list of this year’s early entry candidates, and it’s a long one. According to the NBA’s announcement, 182 players have declared early for the draft — 137 college players and 45 international prospects. That’s a new record.

As was the case a year ago, NCAA rules changes allow underclassmen to “test the waters” before officially committing to the 2017 NBA draft. NCAA early entrants can withdraw their names any time up until May 24 while maintaining their NCAA eligibility, as long as they haven’t hired agents. That means that prospects testing the waters can take part in the NBA draft combine from May 9-14 – if invited – and they can work out for individual teams in the coming weeks.

International early entrants can also withdraw their names from the draft pool within the next several weeks. The final draft list will be set after the early entrant withdrawal deadline for international and other non-NCAA players passes on June 12.

A year ago, a whopping 162 NCAA and international players declared their intent to enter the draft early, but 91 of those players eventually withdrew. This year should follow a similar pattern, so the group of eligible draftees for 2017 figures to be reduced significantly by June 12.

Listed below are the current early entrants, according to the NBA. Players whose intent to declare wasn’t previously reported on Hoops Rumors are listed in italics.

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