Aztecs sophomore forward Malik Pope has declared for the 2016 NBA draft but will not be hiring an agent, leaving himself an option to return to San Diego State for his junior season.
“Malik Pope, with our consultation and approval, has submitted his name to the NBA for the upcoming draft, but will not hire an agent, allowing himself the opportunity to return to San Diego State,” Head coach Steve Fisher said in a university press release. “With the rule change, it is a great opportunity for Malik to get workouts and evaluations from NBA personnel. Together, we will monitor his progress.”
Pope, the university’s highest-ever rated recruit, played in all 38 games this past season, making 16 starts, and averaged 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds. Pope lost his starting position after struggling to find any rhythm in the Aztecs first five games, but regained his spot toward the end of the season, playing exceptionally well, when guard Jeremy Hemsley was limited with a bone-bruise in his foot.
Over his final 13 games of the season, Pope averaged 11.7 points on 47.5 percent shooting (including 50 percent from three-point range), 6.9 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.
Pope has until May 25 or 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA Draft Combine to make a decision on whether to remain in the draft or withdraw his name from draft list. This year’s Combine is scheduled for May 11-15 in Chicago, Illinois. The NBA Draft is set for June 23, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.