Alabama's Joshua Primo to enter NBA draft but stay eligible to return to Crimson Tide

Alabama freshman Joshua Primo is entering the 2021 NBA draft but will maintain his college eligibility and retain the option to return to school, he announced Wednesday.

"I'm hoping to learn more about the habits I need to build for making the jump from being an amateur to a professional," he told ESPN. "I'll be signing with an NCAA-certified agent, and the deciding factor for whether to stay in will be if teams are looking to pick me in the first round. If that's there, and I'll keep my name in. If not, I'd be fine going back to Alabama, where I'll have a bigger role and be able to do even better things as a sophomore."

Primo, the No. 38 prospect in the ESPN 100, was named to the SEC All-Freshman team after averaging 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 22 minutes per game for Alabama, shooting 38% from 3.

The youngest player in college basketball this season and the youngest prospect currently projected to be drafted -- having turned 18 at the end of December -- Primo would have been ineligible for this year's draft if he had been born eight days later. The Toronto native started off the season slowly but had some impressive outings in conference play, helping Alabama win the SEC and earn a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Primo is intriguing to NBA teams because of not only his youth and upside, but also his size on the wing, strong activity defensively and perimeter shooting ability. He said he expects to measure close to 6-foot-7 in shoes at the NBA combine with a 6-11 wingspan and a 197-pound frame.

"I think my game translates greatly to the NBA. Even from the little bit I showed in my first year, just being able to hit 3s consistently and make plays defensively," he said. "I can space the floor and have the length to get my shot off over any defender. I can guard multiple positions, and that will help me adapt to the NBA that has so many interchangeable positions."

The draft will be conducted July 29, and the league has scheduled its combine for June 21, featuring competitive 5-on-5 action "subject to public health conditions."

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and international teams.