Earlier today, it was announced that 6'7 Sudanese-Australian forward Kouat Noi, who withdrew his name from the 2019 NBA draft, would sign with the NBL's Cairns Taipans for the coming 2019/20 season.
Noi was an early entry candidate for this year’s draft but ultimately withdrew and maintained his eligibility for next year. He is an automatic entrant for the 2020 NBA draft, as he leaves TCU and turns professional with the NBL.
Noi will be one of three NBL rookies will be draft eligible in 2020, alongside Next Stars R.J. Hampton, and LaMelo Ball.
“Patience has certainly paid off for us with Kouat," Taipans head coach Mike Kelly said. "He had a fantastic season at TCU last year and then tested the NBA draft process. We watched him with interest while he was at school and have kept in touch when his decision to go pro was made. It’s been a long time in the making, but he’s going to be worth the wait.
“Kouat has the ability to score inside and out - he’s a very good shooter that can also finish at the rim. He’s got the agility and length to defend perimeter players but is also big and strong enough to guard bigger players and be a force on the boards.”
Noi was part of the U17 team that got Australia a silver medal at the FIBA U17 World Cup the same year alongside Isaac Humphries and Harry Froling, both of whom had declared for the NBA draft, and are currently in pursuit of their next opportunity in the NBA.
It sounds like the forward is more than ready to make his mark in the NBL.
"I feel like I'm just going to kill... just to make a statement and to whoever that doubted me I'm just ready to go out there and just prove them wrong," Noi declared, according to journalist Dane Lillingstone.
Noi's combination of length, speed and scoring could see him as a potential NBL Rookie of the Year candidate. Depending on his development in the coming season, it could potentially push him up the rankings when the 2020 NBA draft rolls around.