Is Kris Wilkes the first of multiple UCLA Bruins who will enter their names in the 2019 NBA Draft? Per CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Wilkes will hire an agent and enter his name in the 2019 NBA Draft pool. Since Wilkes appears set to officially hire an agent, he will not be able to return to UCLA to play basketball.
Sources: UCLA's Kris Wilkes will sign with an agent and enter the 2019 NBA Draft.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 20, 2019
Wilkes led the Bruins in scoring this year, averaging 17.3 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game.
Wilkes struggled some this year as both his field goal percentage and three-point percentage decreased from last season to this season.
The 6’8 forward is projected to be anywhere from a first round pick to not even drafted. HoopsHype.com has the draft projections of recent mock drafts from NBADraft.net, ESPN, SI.com, The Athletic and Bleacher Report. Only one site has Wilkes getting drafted.
Wilkes definitely can score, but the issues with him this year were a question of consistency. How consistently can he score and how consistently he can defend? With that being said, I would venture to say that the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago this May, as well as individual team workouts are going to go a long way in determining exactly where Wilkes gets drafted, if he gets drafted at all. I would predict that teams will look at the lack of solid coaching that he received and believe that there is enough talent to draft him at least in the second round.
We wish Wilkes the best as he moves on to the next stage of his basketball career.
UPDATE (3/20 1:00 pm): A quick addition on Wilkes and if he can return to UCLA since hiring an agent. The NCAA website states (emphasis added):
Agent representation for college students
College basketball players can be represented by an agent beginning after any basketball season if they request an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee.
This rule change is effective immediately.
Wikipedia explains it:
Additionally, players may declare for the draft multiple times without losing college eligibility, as long as they withdraw before the new deadline without hiring an agent or signing a professional basketball contract, and are now allowed to attend the draft combine and one tryout per year for each NBA team without losing college eligibility.
So, it appears that Wilkes can still return to UCLA.
UPDATE (3/27 11:00 am): Wilkes made it official this morning with the following Tweet: