San Diego State forward Malik Pope announced on twitter Monday that he plans to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to school for his junior season.
In a tweet posted around 6:30 p.m on Monday, Pope explained, “I’ve decided after talking with my mom and my coaches that I’m gonna withdraw my name from the NBA draft tomorrow, 5/24.”
Pope averaged 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore last year.
However, he raised his game down the stretch and scored in double figures in nine of SDSU’s last 13 contests. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 11.7 points and just under seven boards per game during those last 13 games.
This is the first season players could enter their names for the NBA draft and participate in the combine but also withdraw their name by a certain date and not lose their college eligibility.
As long as prospects do not sign with an agent and remove their name from the draft within 10 days of the completion of the combine, they can return to school.
So after gaining more information on his potential draft status as well as the draft process, Pope returns for his junior campaign and combines with Trey Kell to form a formidable scoring tandem for the Aztecs. As I predicted a few weeks ago, Pope believes this is the best decision for his long-term NBA future.
Dakarai Allen and Matt Shrigley also will be back for their senior seasons, along with redshirt-sophomore-to-be Zylan Cheatham and sophomore point guard Jeremy Hemsley.
The Aztecs have won a Mountain-West high 10 conference titles and are 3-time defending regular-season conference champions.
After not earning a bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven years, the Aztecs made the NIT last season and advanced all the way to Madison Square Garden. After making it to NYC, the Aztecs lost in the NIT semifinals to the eventual champions from George Washington.
The NBA Draft is June 23 in New York City.