Oklahoma Sooners guard Austin Reaves declaring for NBA draft

Oklahoma guard Austin Reaves will declare for the 2021 NBA draft and will forgo his remaining college eligibility.

"I have decided to declare for the NBA draft and will be hiring an agent in the near future," Reaves told ESPN. "My family and I believe this is best decision for my future and I'm super excited for the next part of my journey."

Reaves, the No. 40 prospect in the ESPN 100 NBA draft rankings, was named first-team All-Conference in the Big 12 after a productive season in which he averaged 18.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.6 assists for Oklahoma, which lost in the NCAA tournament round of 32 to No. 1-ranked Gonzaga. Reaves posted 27 points against Gonzaga, two days after a 23-point, 6-assist outing Missouri in the opening round, elevating his standing significantly in the eyes of NBA talent evaluators.

"This season was definitely one to remember," Reaves said. "We will all look back in 10 years and be proud of how we, as a team, got through such a strange time in this world with COVID-19. We had some success, broke some records, and created some memories that will last forever."

Reaves is intriguing to NBA teams due to his combination of size, versatility and basketball IQ, after transforming himself from a deadly spot-up shooter at Wichita State to a big point guard who is considered one of the top pick-and-roll players in the college game under head coach Lon Kruger.

"I think NBA teams were able to see how I can be a factor on a winning team, how I can get my teammates and myself going to try to win as many games as possible. Playing point guard was/is where I am comfortable. It is where I grew up playing the game since age 5. I always have liked being the guy getting the play set up, putting guys in the right position, and assisting to teammates."

Kruger, 68, elected to retire this past week after a decorated career that included two Final Four appearances and a three-year stint as a NBA head coach.

"Coach Krug was incredible to play for. The way he allows his players to play their game is remarkable and is something that is hard to find at any level of basketball. He deserves a lot of credit for not only this season, but all in his fantastic coaching career."

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

Reaves, a senior, was granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA like all seniors due to the pandemic. In a shift from years past, graduating seniors like Reaves must petition the NBA to be included on its early-entry list and be draft eligible.