Three Missouri men’s basketball players will enter their names into the 2020 NBA Draft pool to test professional interest.
Missouri rising seniors Jeremiah Tilmon and Mitchell Smith as well as rising junior Xavier Pinson intend to begin the draft process. All three are also taking steps to retain their collegiate eligibility to allow a return to MU.
The NCAA deadline for withdrawal from the NBA Draft is June 3.
The draft is scheduled to take place June 25.
Tilmon was the most likely Tiger to pursue the draft process, as he announced his intention to partake in the process last year but never did due to a paperwork issue.
“I’ll test the waters, but I’m not putting two feet in,” Tilmon said this past month about exploring his stock for this summer’s draft. “I’m not doing that. I’m going to continue to maintain my eligibility.
“I’m going to at least try to go see just for the experience. But I’m not going to put two feet in and just say, ‘Forget school.’ I’m not going to do that.”
Tilmon appeared in 17 games as a junior, averaging 8.2 points and 4.4 points while shooting 58.9% from the field. He racked up a team-high 21 blocks and has 79 in his career, which ranks 11th all-time at MU.
Tilmon’s career field-goal percentage of 56% is tied for fourth all-time in program history.
Tilmon missed 14 games this past season with a stress fracture in his left foot, including a significant portion of Southeastern Conference play.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove,” Tilmon said. “I didn’t play my best season this year and I’ve missed so many games just off my foot being hurt. I’ve got a lot to prove. ... You lose a lot by not being out there.”
Pinson came on strong during the second half of his sophomore season, averaging 11.1 points while shooting 40% from the field and 81.7% from the free-throw line.
In SEC play, Pinson scored 13.3 points per game and reached double digits 10 times. In the final nine games of the season, Pinson scored 18.9 points per game, including four 20-point outings and a career-high 32-point performance in a win over Mississippi.
The 6-foot-10 Smith set career highs in points (153), rebounds (146) and assists (20) this past season with Missouri.
Despite starting just 13 games, Smith led Missouri in rebounding with 4.9 per game. He shot 85.4% from the free-throw line to help the Tigers.
“I’m very supportive of all three of them going through this to receive key information from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee and greatly benefit from the process,” Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said Tuesday in a statement. “I know they each have goals to pursue professional basketball at the highest levels and this is a significant step in that journey. We’ll help them in any way we can.”