Steven Enoch

Draft Decisions: Konate, King, Enoch, Queta, More

We rounded up a series of draft decisions by early entrants this morning, but with the NCAA’s withdrawal deadline (May 29) looming, we’ve already got many more decisions to pass along.

Here’s the latest:

  • West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate plans to remain in the 2019 NBA draft and will forgo his final year of college eligibility, he tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link).
  • Louisville junior forward V.J. King is also keeping his name in the draft, he announced today (via Twitter). However, the Cardinals will get another key player back, as Steven Enoch‘s father told 93.9 The Ville that his son is “looking forward to next season” in Louisville (Twitter link).
  • Utah State center Neemias Queta announced today (via a Twitter video) that he’ll return to school for his sophomore season.
  • Three Xavier prospects who tested the draft waters as early entrants – Paul Scruggs, Tyrique Jones, and Naji Marshall – are headed back to the Musketeers, according to Rothstein (Twitter link).
  • Texas A&M guard Savion Flagg tells Jeff Goodman of Stadium (Twitter link) that he’ll remove his name from the draft and rejoin the Aggies for his junior season.
  • Providence junior guard Alpha Diallo is also expected to withdraw from the draft and go back to school, agent Javon Phillips tells Goodman (Twitter link).
  • Dayton forward Obi Toppin announced in an Instagram post that he’ll pull out of the draft and head back to school for his sophomore year.
  • Keith Braxton, a junior guard out of St. Francis (PA), has elected to withdraw from the draft after testing the waters, tweets Rothstein.

Southeast Notes: Kemba, Beal, Heat, Hawks

Kemba Walker‘s free agency will be a fascinating situation to watch this offseason, since it’s hard to determine what the best-case scenario is for the Hornets, writes Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. Re-signing Walker to a maximum salary contract would limit Charlotte’s ability to acquire help around him, but one scout thinks the Hornets would “be like an expansion team” without him, per Weitzman.

Complicating matters further? Walker will become eligible for a super-max contract, worth an extra $30MM+ over five years, if he earns a spot on this year’s All-NBA teams, which is a distinct possibility. Only the Hornets could offer him that super-max, but doing so would mean paying the point guard an average of $44MM annually through 2023/24.

“It’d be like the John Wall deal,” one front office source told Weitzman. “They should have traded him last year, when his value was high. They could have just reset.”

With lucrative deals for Bismack Biyombo, Marvin Williams, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all set to come off the Hornets’ books in 2020, the team wouldn’t necessarily be mired in salary-cap hell for years if it re-signs Walker. Still, there’d be no obvious way to add a capable No. 2 option behind the point guard anytime soon.

“The surrounding pieces aren’t so bad,” another front office source said to Weitzman. “They just need another guy in there so they can all slide down a role.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

Draft Notes: Reid, Knight, Enoch, Elleby

LSU freshman big man Naz Reid is expected to declare for the draft, Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com reports. The 6’10” Reid averaged 13.7 PPG and 7.2 RPG for the Tigers, who were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Michigan State on Friday.

“Yeah, we’re expecting to lose him,” LSU assistant Greg Heiar told Zagoria. “If you’re a top-20 pick in the draft, you need to go.”

Reid has some work to do to reach that status. He’s rated No. 48 overall on ESPN’s Jonathan Givony’s list of the top 100 prospects. Reid told Zagoria that he would “think things over” in the next few weeks before making a final decision (Twitter link).

We have more draft news:

  • William & Mary 6’10” junior Nathan Knight has declared for the draft but will leave open the possibility of returning to college, Jeff Goodman of ESPN tweets. Knight averaged 21.0 PPG,  8.6 RPG and 3.5 APG this season.
  • Louisville center Steven Enoch will test the draft waters, Jeff Greer of The Athletic tweets. The 6’10” junior transfer from the University of Connecticut averaged 9.4 PPG and 5.2 RPG in 34 games this season.
  • Washington State freshman CJ Elleby, who broke Klay Thompson‘s freshman scoring record, will enter his name into the draft pool. “I will use the new NCAA rule allowing me to have representation while maintaining my college eligibility,” he told ESPN draft expert Jonathan Givony (Twitter link). The 6’6” swingman averaged 14.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG and 3.0 APG this season.