We learned on Thursday that the UCF Knights’ best 3-point shooter, guard Darin Green Jr., is entering the NBA Draft after one season in college.
It looks like he will have familiar company in the draft pool in the form of UCF’s best player from last season. Forward Collin Smith is expected to also declare for the draft, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.
UCF junior big man Collin Smith (12.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and freshman guard Darin Green (10.1 ppg) are both expected to declare for the NBA Draft, source told @Stadium.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 21, 2020
Smith was the focal point of the Knights’ offense in 2019-20. His possession rate was among the top 100 in Division I and was the second-highest among American Athletic Conference players during AAC action. He was first on the team in points and blocks, second on the team in minutes, rebounds and steals, and was the only Knight to start all 30 games.
Now, this is where I will try to calm those UCF fans who see this article and wonder why Smith is doing this. He has one year of eligibility remaining and is unlikely to be drafted this summer. WHY IS HE LEAVING NOW?!?!?!?1?1
It’s far from certain that Smith has played his last game in the Black and Gold. He and Green are part of a current group of about 100 underclassmen who are “testing the waters” — they are entering the draft but haven’t shut the door on returning to school.
Assuming those players don’t sign with an agent, * Players have until 5 p.m Eastern on June 15 to withdraw from the draft and retain their eligibility. Before then, they will be able to meet with and work out for NBA team personnel and get a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses at the next level. The deadline for players to declare for the draft is 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 26.
*Correction: Players can sign with an agent certified by the NCAA and the National Baskletball Players Association and still keep their eligibility. That relationship must end if the player returns to school.
Granted, in this time of the coronavirus pandemic, I have no idea what team workouts or next month’s still-scheduled NBA Combine will look like. Even if that consists of just interviews between prospects and NBA personnel via video conference, that still contains valuable intel for both sides. And if the NBA Draft, currently slated for June 25, gets postponed, we might see that June 15 early-entry deadline pushed back as well.
Could Smith stay in the draft and decide to start his pro career? Absolutely. Regardless, there is no harm in either him or Green (or any other player with basketball dreams for that matter) gaining some insight on their game from the pros. Every season, that is the precise reason why many players declare. I assume that’s a major reason why these two Knights have as well.
In closing, I’ll point out that word of Green’s announcement came via social media in coordination with the UCF men’s basketball program:
We haven’t seen such a post from Smith. Am I being too suspicious and reading too much into that? For now, yeah, probably. We’ll see what transpires over the next couple of days.