‘I’m still learning.’ Chris Silva reflects on junior season.
Chris Silva will be testing the NBA waters.
The South Carolina junior forward plans to submit his name for the NBA draft, the school announced Tuesday.
Silva, a member of the All-SEC’s first team and the league’s co-defensive player of the year in 2017-18, is not hiring an agent, meaning he can return to the Gamecocks for his senior season.
The NBA combine, held in Chicago, runs from May 16-20. Silva will have until 10 days following the combine to make his decision to remain in the draft, or return to USC. The draft is June 21.
"I want to thank my family, my teammates, my coaches and all of our amazing fans at the University of South Carolina for all of the support I’ve received so far during my time as a Gamecock," Silva said in a school-issued release. "After meeting with Coach Frank (Martin), I’m excited about the opportunity to declare for the draft, without hiring an agent. I’m looking forward to going through the process.”
Silva, a 6-foot-9, 223-pounder, averaged 14.3 points, 8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game this season. He was second in the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes and led the nation in free throw rate. His 213 made FTs are tied for the fourth-most in a season in school history. He also led the Gamecocks in turnovers (87) and fouls (115).
"Chris’ work on the court has earned him the respect of everyone in the SEC, and also of people in the NBA,” Martin said. “With the opportunity to declare, he will be able to gather more information and get a feel for what the NBA’s opinions of him are. We are excited for Chris and that the rules allow him the opportunity to test the waters.”
Mock drafts for 2018 and 2019 on NBADraft.net do not include Silva.
USC assistant coach Perry Clark, speaking in early March, was looking forward to Silva’s senior year.
“I think he’s going to have an outstanding senior year,” Clark said. “I really do. I just think when you see the growth and now, all of a sudden, he’s worn the crown of being ‘The Guy.’ That takes some guys a little longer to be comfortable with and adjust to than others.
“Having gone through that, I just think that will make his senior year a lot easier.”
P.J. Dozier was the last Carolina player to enter the NBA draft early. The sophomore hired an agent and went unselected in the 2017 draft. A two-way player in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s organization, Dozier has played in two NBA games this season.