Precious Achiuwa to enter NBA draft

Precious Achiuwa TV5.ESPN.COM
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Memphis freshman forward Precious Achiuwa is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Friday.

“I’ve decided to declare for the 2020 NBA draft and hire an agent,” Achiuwa said. “This is the next step in my journey and career as a basketball player. I’m really excited for it.”

He later posted about his decision on Instagram.

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Next step in my Journey #Godspeed

A post shared by Precious Achiuwa (@precious) on

Achiuwa, the No. 12 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, emerged as one of the most productive freshmen in college basketball, winning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors.

He averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals for the Tigers, establishing himself as one of the most versatile defenders in the country.

“I’d summarize my season as spectacular. Even though a lot of things were thrown at us early and we had a lot of ups and downs, we found a way to be successful,” Achiuwa told ESPN. “I think I was able to show NBA teams my versatility on defense and that I am able to adjust to whatever role that is given to me and still find a way to be successful. We all had to adjust to different roles because of the uncertainty that was thrown at us early in the season. It was sad the way it ended because of the COVID-19.”

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Memphis finished the season 21-10, but its conference tournament and season were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Since the season ended I’ve just been at my house working on my body, doing a lot of cardio, making sure I am in shape and ready to go whenever we’re allowed to play basketball again,” Achiuwa said. “I’m just staying prepared and keep my body and mental state in the right place.”

The NBA draft is scheduled for June 25, but following worldwide suspensions of basketball activities, NBA teams are lobbying the league office to push it to August in order to salvage the pre-draft process, ESPN reported earlier this month.

“I was definitely looking forward to the pre-draft process,” Achiuwa told ESPN. “That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that almost every NBA player that was drafted goes through. Unfortunately the situation that we’re in is not going to allow us to experience that.

“The way I can help is by staying at home and doing what health officials tell us. Washing your hands and making sure you keep social distance to ensure everyone stays safe. Eventually we’re going to come back to our normal life and get back to what we do on a daily basis.”

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