George King apparently is ready to discover exactly what moving into the professional ranks entails.
Just don’t expect him to leave Colorado yet.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the CU Buffaloes junior guard was among the draft-eligible underclassmen listed in a release by the NBA Tuesday night. A total of 182 college underclassmen and international players are eligible for the draft, a figure that obviously doesn’t even include college seniors.
Given the NBA draft features the selection of only 60 players, the prospects of King actually remaining in the draft and getting selected are dim at best. CU head coach Tad Boyle expressed confidence the player expected to be his top returning scorer and rebounder to remain in the mix for his senior season.
King has not hired an agent and has until May 24 to withdraw from the draft pool and retain his eligibility.
“This is just kind of the norm today,” Boyle said. “Personally I don’t get it, but I understand George can get feedback and see where he’s at and go from there.”
King is coming off a peculiar year in which his scoring average dropped from 13.6 to 11.1 while his rebounding average jumped from 4.7 to a team-best 6.8.
Following a redshirt season in 2014-15, King emerged as a breakout star in 2015-16, leading the Pac-12 Conference with a .456 3-point percentage (the second-best single-season mark in team history) while winning the league’s Most Improved Player award. With more 3-point shooters in the rotation and the Buffs’ lack of an inside scoring threat, King’s 3-point mark fell to .376 this past season.
In terms of pro prospects, King is a superb long-range shooter and an above-average rebounder for a guard, yet he falls well short of excelling in any other department. King generally struggles to create his own shot and has averaged just 2.3 free throw attempts per game during his CU career.
When he does get to the line, King’s free-throw percentage of .671 this past year was startlingly low for a shooter of his caliber, and in 95 career games he has posted just 53 assists against 132 turnovers.