Apr 22, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT
The NCAA’s draft-declaration deadline was April 16, but that mostly meaningless date serves only to limit players’ ability to gain information about their futures.
Players can declare for the draft until the NBA early entry deadline of April 27. In doing so, they’d lose their college eligibility, but if they’re going pro, that doesn’t matter anyway.
So, we’re not done with players entering the draft.
Clemson junior K.J. McDaniels plans to announce this week that he is entering the 2014 NBA draft, a source told Yahoo Sports.
McDaniels, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound small forward, is likely to be picked in the first round (DraftExpress has him No. 20), though it is possible he could slip. He averaged averaged 17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.2 steals per game and won Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season.
He’s one of the favorites in this draft of PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld. McDaniels may be the best wing athlete in this draft not named Wiggins, Isaacson told PBT, yet he was a bit of an unknown coming out of high school. He’s not anymore as he has shown huge improvements in his game between his freshman and junior years — with a lot more room to improve, Isaacson adds.
His athleticism helps him contribute offensively and he can get to the rim with the best of them, even if his jumper hasn’t yet developed and needs to be more consistent. He shot just 30.4 percent on 3-points last year, but considering he took only 25 3s as a freshman (making just seven), that’s progress. A bigger indication of progress: McDaniels made 84.2 percent of his free throws after shooting 57.9 and 68.4 percent from the line his first two seasons.
At minimum, McDaniels should be a capable NBA defender and maybe more — he’s a great shot blocker for a guy 6’6″. With quality teams in the late first round looking for role players, he might make sense.
This seems like a smart time for McDaniels to turn pro. He’s already 21. Had he stayed in school another year, scouts would have been declaring him too old – at least more than they have already.
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