Projected to be a Top 1-3 pick in the NBA Draft 2014 is good enough to convince Joel Embiid that the time to enter the pro league is this year.
“I just want to thank God for giving me this opportunity to come to the (United States) and play ball,” Embiid said in a press conference on Wednesday.
“I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, the fans—everyone that’s helped me through my journey. After thinking a lot, I’ve decided to declare for the NBA Draft.”
Embiid, another one-and-done prospect, played for the Kansas. Jayhawks in the 2013-2014 NCAA season when he averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots in 23.1 minutes.
The center showed flashes of brilliance the entire year including logging 8 double-doubles for the season. The 7-foot-1 Embiid has a 240 pound frame and 7-foot-5 wingspan and appears to be NBA-ready according to most scouts.
Embiid grew up playing volleyball and soccer in central-western Africa of Cameroon and has only played three years of organized basketball since being introduced to the sport.
He's currently projected to go No. 1 in the 2014 NBA Draft but nothing is set in stone with the likes of Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum and Julius Randle all on the board.
Coming out of college early could be a good idea for the 20-year-old who has had histories with injuries. He missed games starting early March due to a stress fracture in his lower back.