LSU freshman Antonio Blakeney announced on Friday that he will make a run at going pro this spring, but he could return to LSU for the 2016-17 season.
Blakeney is taking advantage of a new rule that allows college players to test their status as NBA prospects without officially declaring for the draft – as long as they don’t hire an agent. In other words, Blakeney can go through the NBA combine and meet with scouts before making an official decision on whether to go pro. Blakeney has up to10 days after the NBA combine to remove his name from the 2016 NBA Draft.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank God, my family, my coaches and teammates,” Blakeney said in a press release. “I’ve learned some valuable lessons during my freshman year. I’m excited about my future in basketball and look forward to improving on and off the court each day.
“After meeting with my mom and the LSU Coaching Staff – I’ve decided to enter my name into the 2016 NBA Draft with the hopes of pursuing my dream of playing the game I love with the best in the world. “I will not hire an agent to keep my NCAA eligibility intact. I love all the fans at LSU and would love for their support through this process.”
Blakeney averaged 12.6 points on 42.5 percent shooting and 3.4 rebounds during his debut season. The former five-star recruit entered Baton Rouge, La., as the No. 16 prospect in the nation and the No. 3 shooting guard, according to 247Sports.com’s composite rankings.
The NBA draft website DraftExpress.com rates Blakeney as the No. 35 freshman in the country, which may not bode well for his draft stock. If Blakeney officially declares, he would join fellow freshman star Ben Simmons and junior guard Tim Quarterman as the Tigers going pro this summer.