It has been rumored off and on for several weeks, but it looks like K.J. McDaniels will officially announce his decision to declare for the NBA Draft this week. The junior from Birmingham, AL, is considered to be around the 20th-25th best prospect in this years draft.
Quotes from several scouts indicate McDaniels could go anywhere from a late first round to early second round pick. It will depend on his workouts for teams over the next 2 months. The decision does seem to be unusual. Several reports indicate that McDaniels could have guaranteed himself a first round slot in the 2015 draft if he had decided to stay, but it appears like there was a tremendous amount of family pressure to turn pro.
This year was McDaniels' breakout year, he led Clemson in points, rebounds, blocks, steals, and 3-pointers. He averaged 17.1 ppg and 7.1 rebounds per game during his junior season, up from 10.9 ppg and 5.1 rebounds per game respectively. He was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year . It was a fantastic improvement by McDaniels, and Clemson fans will only get to speculate about what might have been if the junior had stayed for a senior season.
He will finish his Clemson career having led Clemson to a rather surprising NIT semifinal appearance. While this Clemson squad was seen as a possible NIT contender, McDaniels elevated his play enough to keep Clemson in the NCAA Tournament conversation for most of the season. The semifinal run was a pleasant surprise for a side that has seen constant improvement during Brad Brownell's tenure as head coach.
We'll have more about what this means for Clemson's basketball program later on today and this week.