What a time to be alive - there are now three players from Ole Miss eligible in the NBA Draft this upcoming summer.
And two of them may be coming back for the 2019-2020 college basketball season.
Sophomore Devontae Shuler announced his plans to enter the 2019 NBA Draft over the weekend. The Irmo, So. Car. native averaged more than 10 points per game this season for the Rebels along with 3 assists per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and shooting 40 percent from three point range.
Shuler said he plans to keep his NCAA eligibility allowing him to meet with NBA teams, get in some high level workouts with scouts and then make a choice of whether he will return to Ole Miss or not. He thanked fans and coaches in his announcement on Twitter.
A message from @Devontae_Shuler #NBADraft pic.twitter.com/iQBmevcUq1— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) April 13, 2019
Coach Kermit Davis said Shuler moved into the point guard position this season with ease as he took on more minutes and responsibility from freshman to sophomore year.
Encouraging words from @RebelCoachDavis after @Devontae_Shuler's decision to enter the #NBADraft process. pic.twitter.com/hKjzCXGNsK— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) April 13, 2019
Earlier this month, junior guard Breein Tyree announced his draft eligibility as well, also choosing to hold on to his amateur status for the time being. Senior Terence Davis is also eligible to be drafted this summer.
Out of the three draft eligible Rebels, Shuler showed the biggest improvement last year as his points per game, minutes per game and shooting percentages all greatly increased from his freshman to sophomore year. He took on the point guard role, fought through a foot injury in SEC play and he showed flashes of his ability to finish at the rim.
That being said, Shuler most likely has a higher ceiling on his game out of the trio as well. I really don’t think we’ve seen his best basketball yet, and I think given another year in college basketball he would further prove that point especially if fully healthy.
It’s exciting to see Shuler test himself out for NBA teams, and fans should expect to see him get a few looks given his overall athletic ability and leadership from this past season.
What is more exciting for Rebel basketball fans is that this program has seemingly made a 180 degree turn in only 12 months. Ole Miss basketball went from 12-20 and a coaching change that didn’t hype up our fanbase immediately to an NCAA tournament appearance and three potential NBA draftees.
It can’t be stated enough the work Kermit Davis and his staff have put in this year to turn things around and change the appearance of the program. If Shuler and Tyree come back, the preseason expectations will certainly be a new watermark for the staff and players to meet.