Embiid announcement expected
(MCT) — Kansas freshman center Joel Embiid was set to announce where he’ll be playing basketball next season.
Embiid and Kansas coach Bill Self had a news conference this afternoon at Allen Fieldhouse.
These news conference have become a customary step for KU players to announce their intentions to enter the NBA Draft, but Embiid had given no clear indication on his decision.
In late March, Yahoo reported Embiid would enter the draft. But Self and Embiid said the report was premature.
After the Yahoo report, Self said there was no timetable for Embiid’s decision, while Embiid said he would consult first with his family, coaches and mentor — Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, a veteran forward with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mbah a Moute, who played in college at UCLA, also pushed back against the Yahoo report, tweeting: “(J)oel has not yet made a decision!”
It was more than three years ago that Mbah a Moute discovered Embiid at a basketball camp in their native Cameroon and immediately noticed Embiid’s talent and potential. Mbah a Moute helped direct Embiid to Montverde Academy in Florida for his junior season before he finished out his high school career at The Rock School in Gainesville, Fla.
Embiid signed with KU and became one of the nation’s best centers during his freshman season before a stress fracture developed in his back. He missed the Jayhawks’ last six games, including a season-ending loss to Stanford in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 32.
“It’ll be a tough decision,” Embiid said of his future in the moments after the loss.
If Embiid, 20, declares for the draft, he will be betting that NBA teams will still look favorably upon his unique skill set despite the fact his only college season was cut short because of the injury.
The NBA deadline for underclassmen to officially declare for the draft is April 27, but a unilateral NCAA rule states that underclassmen who would like to declare for the draft and test the waters without hiring an agent have until April 15 to withdraw their name from the draft.