Provo • Yoeli Childs made it official on Monday.
BYU’s star sophomore forward confirmed to The Salt Lake Tribune that he will definitely put his name into the 2018 NBA draft pool before the early entry deadline on April 22. Childs will not hire an agent, meaning he can withdraw his name from the draft before June 11 and preserve his college eligibility.
Childs hopes to “go through the process” of working out for NBA teams and getting feedback from NBA scouts, coaches and general managers before he decides whether or not to turn professional or return to BYU for his junior season of eligibility.
Childs has said that if he believes he will be taken before midway through the second round he will stay in the draft. Most NBA mock drafts do not have him being taken in the first two rounds.
However, Childs spoke Monday as if he’s leaning toward leaving BYU.
“I would like to thank BYU, coach [Dave] Rose and everybody there who has helped me through [two years] so much,” he said. “I am excited about this opportunity and I look forward to going through the pre-draft process.”
Childs, who is 20, is probably not the only BYU star who will put his name in the draft. Sources in Provo say rising senior guard Elijah Bryant is also leaning in that direction.
Bryant averaged 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while Childs averaged 17.8 points and 8.6 rebounds. Both were All-West Coast Conference first-team selections.
Many believe that Bryant is more likely to leave because of his age — he went to a prep school in New Hampshire for a year before enrolling at Elon University, and sat out a year after transferring to BYU. Bryant has also dealt with knee soreness and might want to start playing for money while he is still reasonably healthy.
Childs is listed at 6-foot-8, but some scouts have privately wondered if he is really that tall.
“Worst-case scenario, you go through the process and get better, then come back and help your team,” Childs told the Tribune on March 12. “But if a team really likes me, who knows?”
It could be the second straight season that Rose loses a star big man to the professional ranks. Eric Mika, 22 at the time, left his name in the NBA draft after announcing his intentions last March, and went undrafted. He eventually signed to play professionally in Italy, the country he served his LDS Church mission.
Tribune sportswriter Tony Jones contributed to this report