According to a tweet from our robotic lord, Jon Rothstein, Sagaba Konate has informed him that he will declare for the 2019 NBA Draft after flirting with the decision last year.
West Virginia's Sagaba Konate tells me he will declare for the 2019 NBA Draft.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 2, 2019
That is disheartening news to the West Virginia Mountaineers who played most of the 2018-19 season without their feared shotblocker and struggled to one of the worst seasons including a season-embarrassing loss to Coastal Carolina in the College Basketball Invitational.
The good news is that while Konate may intend to declare, it doesn’t mean he is 100% gone. Thanks in part of the college-wide scandal that saw several schools get caught in the net of the federal investigation, the NCAA was required to change some of its outdated amateur rules for “student”-athletes.
Among the rules that were changed are: athletes can now be represented by an agent and still retain their amateur status, agents can pay for expenses, and most importantly -
College basketball players who request an Undergraduate Advisory Committee evaluation, participate in the NBA combine and aren’t drafted can return to school as long as they notify their athletics director of their intent by 5 p.m. the Monday after the draft.
That is the good news for Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers, while Konate can test the NBA Combine and see if he will even be drafted, it does not mean that he is 100% gone.
Update - head coach Bob Huggins provides a bit of clarity on the situation.
Per NCAA rules, in order to gain feedback from people associated with the NBA, players are required to submit the necessary paperwork to request an evaluation,” coach Bob Huggins said. “Sags plans to do this while leaving open his option to return.”
As Coach Huggins stated, in order to gain feedback from the NBA, Konate was required by NCAA rule to declare for the Draft. Last year, he was allowed to seek an evaluation without submitting paperwork for the Draft. Also, interestingly Huggins notes that Konate is leaving his option to return open and Huggins does not sound like one who would refuse his return.