Draft notebook: Murray State’s Morant to make jump

Draft notebook: Murray State’s Morant to make jump

All-America sophomore and projected lottery pick Ja Morant is leaving Murray State to enter the 2019 NBA Draft, he announced at a Wednesday news conference.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) attempts a free throw against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half of a game in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Morant averaged 24.5 points and led the nation with 10 assists per game this season, highlighted by a triple-double against Marquette in a first-round win in the NCAA Tournament.

Morant, who also averaged 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 2018-19, has been projected to be selected as high as No. 2 in the draft behind Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson.

He announced that he would be signing with an agent, which would preclude him from regaining his college eligibility.

—North Carolina freshman guard Coby White is leaving school for the NBA draft, where early indications are he could be a lottery pick.

White (6-foot-5, 185) averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 assists while starting all 35 games for the Tar Heels, shooting 80 percent from the free throw line and 35.3 percent (82 of 232) from 3-point range. He’s known more as a shot-maker than a facilitator, posting three games this season with at least 33 points.

White, a 2018 McDonald’s high school All-American, was projected to be the 11th pick in an ESPN mock draft from March 18.

—Tennessee junior guard Jordan Bone said on social media he will enter the NBA draft, but indicated he could still return and plans to use the process to measure his NBA readiness.

“I plan to make the most of this opportunity and use the experience and feedback to make the most informed decision about my basketball future,” Bone said.

Bone averaged 13.5 points and 5.8 assists per game last season and was second-team All-SEC. Prospects face an April 21 deadline to enter the draft process, with a May 29 deadline to decide to stay in the draft or return to college.

—Vanderbilt freshman post player Simi Shittu announced he will enter the draft and hire an agent, which would eliminate his option to return to school.

Shittu, a high school McDonald’s All-American who suffered a torn ACL in January 2018, averaged 10.9 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Commodores, who went 9-23 overall and 0-18 in the SEC before firing coach Bryce Drew.

—LSU forward Naz Reid, who averaged 13.6 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds for the Tigers’ Sweet 16 team, will hire and agent and turn pro.

The former five-star recruit started 32 of 34 games for LSU, which won the SEC regular-season title. Recent mock drafts from ESPN and The Athletic pegged Reid for the middle of the second round, while noting his upside.

—Deividas Sirvydis, an 18-year-old wing from Lithuania, has submitted paperwork to be eligible for the NBA draft, according to ESPN, which rates him as the 48th-best prospect for the draft.

Sirvydis is playing for Lietuvos Rytas of the EuroCup League, starting 25 games and averaging 5.4 points and shooting 36 percent from 3-point range in 15 minutes per game, according to ESPN.

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—Eugene German of Northern Illinois has declared for the NBA draft but will keep his options open, as he did last year when he returned to school after going through the pre-draft process.

The junior guard averaged 20.4 points this season, shooting 41.4 percent from 3-point range and earning second-team All-Mid-American Conference honors.

—Field Level Media

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