Creighton’s star junior point guard Maurice Watson Jr. might be on his way out of Omaha.
On Wednesday, the Bluejays guard announced that he plans to declare for the NBA draft. However, Watson will not hire an agent, which gives him the option to return to school after the combine.
Because of new NCAA rules that delay the early entry eligibility deadline for underclassmen, Watson will be eligible to participate in pre-draft workouts with teams, including the NBA draft combine in May. After the combine, Watson will have ten days to decide whether he will return to Creighton or forgo his senior year and officially put his name into the draft pool.
Watson, among many other underclassmen nationwide, will have the opportunity to participate in workouts with teams and get feedback from NBA officials before making a decision whether or not to officially enter the draft pool. With the new NCAA rule change, Watson has nothing to lose by declaring for the draft.
After transferring to Creighton from Boston and sitting out the 2014-15 season, Watson became the leader of Creighton’s high-powered offense this past season, averaging 14.1 points and 6.5 assists per game (both team-highs).
Watson earned second-team All-Big East recognition for his performances this year. Watson would be a vital returning piece of a Creighton team that is expected to be very competitive in the Big East next season.
Watson’s elite scoring and facilitation abilities were incredibly valuable to Creighton’s offense last season. However, the inconsistency of his outside shot and his lack of size at 5’10” make it very unlikely that Watson will receive positive news from NBA scouts.
DraftExpress.com has Watson ranked as the No. 70 ranked junior in the nation, and his name doesn’t appear in their list of the top 100 overall draft prospects.
So, unless Watson can turn heads and drop jaws in his workouts, it’s unlikely he’ll be within the range of the sixty players that get drafted. Expect him to be back in a Creighton uniform for the 2016-17 season.