Surprising news broke today that SF Braxton Key has decided to declare for the NBA Draft:
Alabama freshman forward Braxton Key will declare for the 2017 NBA Draft, Alabama and head coach Avery Johnson announced Monday.
Key will not hire an agent, however, therefore maintaining his amateurism and will have until May 24 to decide whether to remain in the NBA Draft or return to the Crimson Tide for the 2017-18 season.
This is surprising only because Key’s game doesn’t appear to be polished enough for that level just yet. He was Alabama’s best overall player last season but still needs to make improvement in all aspects of the perimeter game. Coach Saban tells his players that they should only leave for a first round grade, and this is even more critical in the NBA since many second round picks never play a minute for the team that drafts them.
This could very well be something that Coach Avery Johnson suggested for Key. Worst case for him, he will be evaluated by those who are involved in the draft process to get feedback on the specific areas that he needs to improve the most. As Johnson recruits more NBA-caliber talent, this will become commonplace. Frankly, I’d like to see this rule implemented for football juniors. Every year there are players who leave early and end up drafted much lower than they had hoped.
While we hope to get Braxton back for another season, we wish him well if it turns out that an opportunity for NBA dollars is in the cards for him.
Key tweeted out a farewell, and it has a ring of finality to it:
#NoNoise pic.twitter.com/GYQvUKOLWn— braxton key (@btwice_11) April 17, 2017
Then Cecil Hurt added this nugget:
Braxton Key @btwice_11 is not expected at the UA basketball banquet tonight but we expect to hear from @CoachAvery6 at that time.— Cecil Hurt (@CecilHurt) April 17, 2017
The part about not showing up to the team banquet tonight is a bit disconcerting. We will update you with any new information.
Here’s what Coach Johnson said at the banquet:
At awards banquet, Avery Johnson on Braxton Key: "We're hoping and praying that he's back with us when we start our summer program."— Marq Burnett (@Marq_Burnett) April 17, 2017
Hope for the best.