: Junior guard Morris Almond, a CollegeInsider.com All-American this season, declared for the NBA draft Monday. Almond decided to not hire an agent, which allows him to withdraw from the draft and return to Rice for his senior year if he chooses.
“After this season, I think I put myself in a position to at least consider it,” Almond said. “It’s a goal of mine. I thought that it’s kind of a low-risk, win-win situation, and I thought, ‘Why not?’”
Almond had a breakout season this year. He led the both the Owls and Conference USA in scoring with 21.9 points per game overall and 25.1 points per game in conference play. The 6’6” guard also led the Owls, along with senior forward J.R. Harrison, in rebounding with 5.8 boards per game. Almond scored at least 30 points eight times over the course of the season, including a stretch of four games in a row in early February.
Almond discussed his idea to enter the draft with coaches and teammates, and he said they mostly agree with his decision. Almond said head coach Willis Wilson (Will Rice ‘82) told him he strongly believes the decision was a sound one.
“He was very supportive of it,” Almond said. “[Wilson] said he anticipated it, and he agreed with me in that I should at least consider it. With the season that I had … and with the draft class that’s coming out this year, he thought that I stacked up well.”
he determining factor in Almond’s decision may be the NBA’s pre-draft camp, which will be held in Orlando, Florida starting June 6. The camp provides scouts with their best and, at times, only opportunity to see players compete against NBA-level talent. It is one of the few opportunities for players to increase their draft stock after the season.
“You can play yourself into the first round through individual workouts with teams and with the pre-draft camp that the NBA puts on,” Almond said. “My goal is to play myself into the first round and get a first round guarantee. If not, I’m coming back to school.”