The South Carolina men’s basketball team got good news on one of its key players Thursday, and now waits for news from its most important one.
Forward Dominique Archie announced he would withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his senior year. Archie had entered the draft without signing with an agent.
Archie had been thought by some close to him to be leaning toward not returning, as he is on track to graduate, possibly as soon as this summer. Since he redshirted his freshman year, he will be a fifth-year senior.
The Augusta native said in a statement released by USC he was “very excited about my senior season and the direction that our team is headed.”
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But a big part of that direction depends on what Devan Downey does.
Downey, a two-time selection to the All-SEC first-team, has until Monday to withdraw his name from the draft. The Chester native is considering playing in Europe, according to sources.
Downey had a workout in Milwaukee on Thursday, and plans to make a decision this weekend.
Downey would also be a fifth-year senior next season.
When he declared for the draft in April, Archie said through USC that he was doing so to receive feedback from pro scouts with the “full intention” of returning to school. He attended three workouts — two in Houston and one in Oklahoma City — each of which were attended by multiple teams.
“We’re very glad that Dominique was able to go through the process of working out with teams and gaining the feedback from NBA personnel,” USC coach Darrin Horn said in a statement.
Archie, a 6-foot-7 forward, has started each game the past three seasons. As a junior he averaged 10.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, earning him an honorable mention All-SEC pick by The Associated Press and a second-team All-SEC pick by the coaches.
He was also named to the All-SEC defensive team after averaging 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
If Downey goes pro, Archie would become the focal point of the team next season, with second-leading scorer Zam Fredrick having graduated.
Tennessee junior Tyler Smith announced Thursday that he also is withdrawing from the draft. Six SEC players have done so. Only two players have gone pro early: Florida’s Nick Calathes (signing with a team in Greece) and Mississippi’s David Huertas (signing with a Puerto Rican team).
Downey and Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks remain in the draft.