INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Butler’s Shelvin Mack wants to find out where he stands in the NBA draft.
If it doesn’t work out, hey, the 21-year-old junior can always return to the two-time national runner-ups.
On Tuesday, the 6-foot-3 shooting guard said he is declaring to enter the draft but has not hired an agent, making him eligible to return to school next season.
“I’m exploring my options and gathering information to see what opportunities might exist for me,” Mack said in a statement issued by the school. “I’ve always had a dream to play in the NBA, and I want to make an informed decision on that possibility.”
Players must declare their intentions by April 24 and have until May 8 to withdraw if they do not hire an agent.
Mack met with coach Brad Stevens last Thursday, three days after the Bulldogs lost the national championship game to Connecticut. Stevens told reporters then that he was gathering information for Mack and he would only provide the information he collected to Mack, not advise him what to do.
Following last week’s pep rally at Hinkle Fieldhouse, Mack said he wanted to discuss the possibilities with his mother. Now Mack and NBA teams must determine where he fits in the draft.
Most media projections list Mack as a second-round pick, and some analysts have suggested he might have to play point guard in the NBA. Critics are concerned about the dip in his shooting percentage, from 45.4 percent in 2009-10 to 40.1 percent last season. Mack’s 3-point percentages also dropped from 39.1 percent in 2009-10 to 35.4 percent last season.
But he still finished as the Bulldogs’ No. 2 scorer at 16.0 points per game, led Butler in assists (131), finished third in rebounds (4.5) and was the Most Outstanding Player in the Southeast Regional. His tourney performance may have improved Mack’s draft stock.
The other wrinkle Mack must consider is a possible NBA lockout, which could affect next season.
“I’m sure that will be a factor for a lot of kids,” coach Brad Stevens said after Butler’s pep rally. “The labor situation will do a couple of different things to this year’s draft.”
Before the Final Four, junior point guard Ronald Nored said Mack promised him they would finish their careers together. Mack confirmed that sentiment to The Associated Press last week.
But nobody at Butler, not even the outgoing Nored, is willing to lobby Mack to stay.
“I’m not going to convince him,” Nored said last week. “When you’re in that position, you have a more clear idea of where you will go.”
Mack was one of 20 players on last summer’s USA Select Team, which practiced against the American national team, and he’s the second Butler player in two years to declare for the draft.
Utah took swingman Gordon Hayward, a sophomore, with the ninth overall pick last season after he led the Bulldogs to their first title game, and the Bulldogs still made it back to the title game without him.
Could Mack be next?
“Whatever the best situation is, you’ve got to take advantage of it,” Mack said last week. “You’ve got to use all of your resources and make the best decision.”
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