San Diego State Basketball sophomore forward Malik Pope, fresh off of a run to the NIT semifinals, has declared for the 2016 NBA draft, the team announced on Tuesday.
He has yet to sign an agent, however, meaning he has until April 29 to decide whether he will committ to the NBA or return to SDSU for his junior season.
If he decides to leave, he will join senior forwards Winston Shepherd III, Skylar Spener and Angelo Chol as NBA draft prospects.
In 2016, the 6-10 forward averaged 7.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting and 5 rebounds in 38 games for the Aztecs.
Pope is riding the hottest wave of his college career into the NBA, as he averaged 12.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the last nine games of the season, six of which were in the Mountain West conference tournament or the NIT.
Pope’s length and athleticism makes him a target for many NBA teams, and he is projected to be drafted in the second round of the upcoming draft.
The last Aztec to be drafted was guard Xavier Thames, who was taken with the 59th pick by the Toronto Raptors. Thames, however, never played in an NBA game.
The only San Diego State alum actively playing in the NBA is small forward Kawhi Leonard, who was the defensive player of the year in 2015 and the NBA Finals MVP in 2013 for the San Antonio Spurs.
Pope’s departure would leave sophomore guard Trey Kell and redshirt-freshman forward Zylan Cheatham as the only players left from the highly touted 2014 SDSU recruiting class, and the duo will have the responsibility of leading the 2016-17 Aztecs back to the NCAA tournament.
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