(Photo Credit: IndianaHQ)
With the NBA Early Entry deadline coming this evening (11:59 pm on April 21st, 2019), players across the country will need to have made their declarations to participate in the 2019 NBA draft. There are a lot of advantages for declaring to be a part of the NBA draft, including receiving feedback from NBA teams and scouts.
While there will be fans in every fan base that complain about declaring for the NBA, the truth is that there is no downside for players to become more knowledgeable about their draftability and to be better informed of the NBA process.
We take a look at the current Big Ten players that have already announced their intentions and we assess their likelihood of returning to college basketball. As a refresher, players are now able to hire agents, have tryouts with professional teams, get feedback from professional teams, and also return to school if they withdraw from the draft or they go undrafted. For more information on 2019 NCAA recruiting rules and key dates, check out our recent post detailing the new changes for this upcoming season.
Note that seniors do not have to declare for the NBA draft as an early entrant. We will only deep dive into seniors that may potentially be drafted.
Notable non-declarations: Ayo Dosunmu, Giorgi Bezhanishvili, Trent Frazier
Romeo Langford: Very likely to be drafted. Romeo Langford has always had the goal of playing in the NBA as he has mentioned in many interviews. Langford’s draft stock has dropped since the beginning of this season, but he is still unanimously expected to be picked in the first round. The 6’7″ guard has the body and scoring ability that NBA teams will want to take advantage of right away. It may still take some time for him to develop and get accustomed to the NBA level of play.
Devonte Green: Unlikely to be drafted. Devonte Green heated up as the season ended for the Hoosiers. With older brother Danny Green in the NBA and currently playing in the NBA playoffs with the Toronto Raptors, Devonte certainly has the same goals to play at the next level. Devonte Green will test the NBA waters, get feedback, and better understand what to work on during the upcoming season with the Hoosiers.
Juwan Morgan: Unlikely to be drafted. Juwan Morgan has been one of the most important pieces for Archie Miller’s Hoosiers in the past two seasons. Especially since he was taken on the brunt of the workload once teammates James Blackmon Jr., OG Anunoby, and Thomas Bryant all moved on to the professional ranks. Juwan appears on some draft boards, but most likely he will not be drafted in the 2019 NBA draft.
Justin Smith: Unlikely to be drafted. Justin Smith showed brief moments of brilliance throughout the season, but in his second year as a Hoosier, he failed to live up to consistent expectations. Smith has the athleticism and ability to be have a breakout season, but it would be surprising to see him drafted and not return to the Hoosiers.
Al Durham: Unlikely to be drafted. Probably the most surprising draft declaration for the Hoosiers. He’s been averaging about 8 points per game and is a deep threat when the Hoosiers need to spread the court. It does not seem likely that a team will draft him yet, but we will learn a lot more this upcoming season with him taking a more leadership role as a junior on the team.
Notable non-declarations: De’Ron Davis
Tyler Cook: Likely to be drafted. Tyler Cook has posted two back to back incredible seasons at Iowa. Last year, he declared for the NBA but returned after receiving feedback. With his stock improved, this year he may stick with the draft and leave the program regardless if he gets drafted or not. He has hired an agent. He ranges anywhere from the end of the first round to the end of the second round.
Joe Weiskamp: Unlikely to be drafted. The 6’6″ freshman scored an average of 11.1 points per game for the Hawkeyes and would be a major part of the Iowa program if he returned back to school. Wisekamp is Iowa High School’s version of Damon Bailey, being the highest scoring player from the state in the high school ranks. That being said, he currently does not appear on any draft boards and most likely will not be drafted.
Notable non-declarations: Luka Garza, Jordan Bohannon
Bruno Fernando: Very likely to be drafted. Fernando has the size and strength that can make him very valuable for NBA franchises. At the current moment in time, he still has a lot of raw abilities that need to be refined, but a year in the NBA G League could certainly refine, his skills. Depending on the draft board you look at, Bruno Fernando and Romeo Langford are the top two Big Ten prospects this season. Both of which are project to go in the first round. Fernando also has some looming questions around his handlers deal regarding Silvio De Sousa and the handling of money, which gives Bruno another reason to move quickly into the NBA.
Anthony Cowan Jr.: Unlikely to be drafted.The 6-foot-0 point guard showed promise at the end of last season, but he did not have the expected level of jump that many predicted he would have for his junior year. Despite that, he is still going to put his name in the hat so that at the very least he can be evaluated alongside teammate Bruno Fernando. The Maryland guard has the explosive quickness that NBA true point guards need, but he dropped in nearly every statistical category this season. He is not listed on most draft boards.
Notable non-declarations: Jalen Smith, Aaron Wiggins
Ignas Brazdeikis: Likely to be drafted if he remains in the draft. Big Ten’s freshman of the year Ignas Brazdeikis has already announced plans that he will hire an agent, but he has mentioned that he does not yet know if he will return back to school. He is keeping the door open for another year at Michigan depending on the feedback he receives. The 6-foot-8 wing has a three point shot that seems to be NBA-ready. On many draft boards, Ignas is listed at the end of the first round or the early second round.
Charles Matthews: A slight chance to be drafted. Charles Matthews has ended his collegiate career and he has the intention to play professional basketball regardless of the feedback he receives in the NBA draft evaluation process. He has publicly stated that he plans to go professional thus ending his career as a Michigan State Wolverine after a pair of impressive NCAA tournament runs since transferring from the University of Kentucky. He is listed just outside of the second round on most NBA draft boards.
Jordan Poole: A slight chance to be drafted. Following teammates Charles Matthews and Ignas Brazedeikis, Jordan Poole also declared for the NBA draft. Poole got his fame from clutch shots made in last year’s NCAA tournament run where the Wolverines finished as the NCAA runner ups. While clutch in prime time, he has been fairly inconsistent during the regular season. He primarily needs to improve on his shot selection as it seems that the two-guard has grown a bit overconfident. He is listed just outside of the second round on most NBA draft boards.
Nick Ward: Unlikely to be drafted. Nick Ward has entered his name in the NBA draft and as Jeff Borzello reports, the plan is for him to end his career at Michigan State. The junior had been a three year starter for Tom Izzo at the five. Nick Ward tested the waters last year and ended up returning back to Michigan State after receiving feedback from NBA scouts. He currently not listed in the majority of draft boards.
Notable Non-declarations: Cassius Winston, Xavier Tillman, Aaron Henry, Josh Langford
Amir Coffey: A slight chance to be drafted. Amir Coffey turned up his game in the Big Ten tournament where he averaged 19.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.3 steals over the course of three games. Even before then, Coffey was averaging 18.6 points for the Gophers. He plays well in transition and his size makes him a draft and stash at the very least. He has a 6-foot-7 frame but a slightly shorter wing span.
Jordan Murphy: Unlikely to be drafted. The double-double machine finished his collegiate career averaging 11.0 rebounds and 14.4 points per game for Richard Pitino’s Minnesota squad. The power forward has a knack for grabbing rebounds but he like many others from this list is undersized for his position in the NBA. The 6-foot-6 power forward has the footwork that could make him effective if he added a deep jump shot to his arsenal. As it stands, it’s a bit of a long shot for him at the moment.
Notable non-declarations: Daniel Oturu
Isaiah Roby: A slight chance to get drafted. Reports regarding Isaiah Roby’s interest in the NBA surfaced at the end of the last month. He plans to declare for the 2019 NBA draft, but he does not plan on hiring an agent. With the firing of coach Tim Miles, Roby is certainly intrigued by the possibility of playing for former Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg. For most draft boards, he is at the end of the second round or just outside. He is fairly universally mentioned in most draft boards.
James Palmer Jr.: A slight chance to be drafted. Nebraska’s senior star has a similar draft placement as his teammate Isaiah Roby: right outside of the boundaries of the second round. James Palmer is known for his prolific scoring and he averaged 19.7 points per game for the Huskers last season.
Vic Law, Dererk Pardon, and Ryan Taylor are all graduating but they are not likely to be drafted.
Kaleb Wesson: Unlikely to be drafted. Wesson dealt with injuries this season but when he was on the floor he changed how teams played against home. Indiana fell victim to a healthy Kaleb Wesson in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Adam Jardy from the Columbus Dispatch has mentioned that Kaleb Wesson is not expected to hire and agent and in all likelihood he will continue wearing scarlet and gray for his junior season at Ohio State. He is listed on some draft boards.
Lamar Stevens: Unlikely to be drafted. Big Ten’s leading scorer in the 2018-2019 season will be declaring for the NBA and plans to hire an agent. Playing the forward position, Stevens is undersized at being only 6-foot-6. Stevens, while a very solid scorer in the NCAA, may not have similar success in the NBA. He has a good pick and pop shot but he is not the most efficient player on the floor.
Notable non-declarations: Mike Watkins
Carsen Edwards: Likely to be drafted. The NCAA tournament superstar and Purdue primary players will declare for the NBA draft and seems to have the intention of sticking through with the process. While he is undersized, his epic performance in this year’s NCAA tournament, specifically from behind the arc, has certainly garnered additional attention for the guard. Edwards is projected to be anywhere from the first round to the mid second round.
Notable non-declarations: Nojel Eastern, Matt Haarms, Trevion Williams
Notable non-declarations: Eugene Omoruyi, Geo Baker
Ethan Happ: Unlikely to be drafted. After winning the 2019 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award, Ethan Happ was picked as the best center in college basketball. The red-shirt senior is already fairly old at being 22 years old; however, one of the biggest things preventing him to be effective at the next level is his ability to shoot from the outside, and his ability to shoot at the free throw line. In fact, he shot a career 54.1% from behind the free throw line. Last year he shot only 46.6% from behind the arc, which was his career lowest.
Notable non-declarations: D’Mitrik Trice, Nate Reuvers