Phew! Yoeli Childs will return to BYU after testing NBA waters

BYU basketball receives a major boost in news that the star forward is returning to Provo.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23) shoots for the Cougars in basketball action, Brigham Young Cougars vs Texas Southern Tigers, at the Marriott Center in Provo, Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017.

BYU got itself a boost Tuesday night.

After deliberating for two months whether to stay in Provo or officially opt in for the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft, BYU big man Yoeli Childs announced Tuesday evening that he will return to the Cougars for his junior season.

“These last two years I’ve spent at BYU have been incredible,” Childs wrote in his Twitter post. “The culture here is special and BYU has the best fans in the country. From teammates to coaches to fans it really feels like a big family.

Childs said after several weeks of discussing the decision with his family, those close to him, NBA executives and through prayer, the choice that was “the best decision for my future and my family” is to return to BYU.

The 20-year-old, who attended Bingham High School in South Jordan, averaged 17.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game last year and was an All-West Coast Conference first-team selection. Childs did not hire an agent, leaving the door open for his college basketball career. He had until June 11 to withdraw his name from the early entry deadline for the upcoming NBA Draft.

Like so many talented underclassmen, the 6-foot-8 Childs went through the process to get a sense of where he’d stack up in what is expected to be a strong upcoming draft class.

In March, he told the Tribune that had he felt he would be taken before the midway point of the second round in the draft, he’d have stayed in the pool.

It’s good news for Dave Rose and Cougar fans after the team already lost its most dynamic player from a year ago. Guard Elijah Bryant, who averaged a team-high 18.2 points per game last season, declared for the upcoming draft and will not return. It’s the second straight season in which BYU has lost a player with a year of eligibility remaining to the draft following Eric Mika last year.

The return of Childs is compounded by former BYU guard Nick Emery’s April 27 announcement that he will re-enroll at BYU and finish his career with the Cougars. Emery has been the subject of an NCAA investigation regarding allegations that a BYU booster paid for travel and gave him use of a new car.