On Wednesday afternoon, Joel Embiid announced his intentions of entering the 2014 NBA Draft.
“After thinking a lot, I decided to declare for the NBA Draft.” Joel Embiid said.
“I love this place. They showed me nothing but love. I will miss this place,” continued Embiid.
Embiid, expected to be a top three pick in the upcoming draft, averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in his freshman season at Kansas.
“I personally didn’t think he could make a bad decision,” said Bill Self. “Nobody could say that he’s making a bad decision by entering the draft”
On March 27th, Yahoo Sports reported Embiid had already made up his mind and would leave for the NBA Draft and would make his announcement in the next couple of weeks. However, Embiid refuted the claims and said he hadn’t made a decision yet.
“Talking to my mentor and my coach, trying to gather information,” said Embiid about his decision, which he said he made on Sunday. “The info that my mentor gave me, I always trusted him.”
Embiid is the fourth one and done in Kansas history. Embiid joins Andrew Wiggins (2014, ?), Josh Selby (2011, Round 2, Pick 49) and Xavier Henry (2010, Round 1, Pick 12) as the other one and dones. Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com was told by an NBA scout that Embiid is a “lock” for a top 5 pick.
Embiid and Wiggins look to become the highest drafted Jayhawk since Danny Manning was drafted No. 1 overall in 1988 and the first top five pick since Thomas Robinson in 2012. KU has never had two Jayhawks go in the first three picks of the NBA Draft. The last time a school had the No. 1 and No. 2 overall pick was in 2012 (Kentucky: Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist).
Embiid was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year after setting the KU freshman blocking record with 72 blocked shots. Along with Andrew Wiggins, Embiid was on the USBWA Freshman All-America Team. Embiid started 20 games and played in 28 in 2013-14 and he finished second in the Big 12 in blocks (2.6) and sixth in rebounds (8.1) to add to his 11.2 scoring average.
“We knew he would be really, really good but we didn’t know how long it woudld take him, and he kind of exceeded our expectations,” said Bill Self.
Embiid also set the KU freshman record in field goal percentage (62.6) and rebounding average (8.1). Embiid led KU with eight double-doubles and blocked at least one shot in each of his last 22 games. A stress fracture (back) sidelined him for last six games, including Big 12 Championship and NCAA Tournament.
Despite the injury, Embiid is expected to be just fine. “Every team’s doctors will determine just how bad his injury is long term,” one NBA scout told ZagsBlog.com.
Embiid said his back is fine and it did not impact his decision to leave.
Who do you think will be drafted higher: Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid? Vote below.