Sophomore wing Deng Adel will soon need to make a decision on whether he will return to Louisville or take his chances by keeping his name in the 2017 NBA Draft.
After declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft as an early entrant following a promising year with the Cardinals, Adel has not yet hired an agent and can return to school if he withdraws his name by May 24 (US time).
The 6'7 Adel has made the most of the opportunity, undertaking a busy schedule in working out for the Oklahoma City Thunder, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls (twice) and Milwaukee Bucks. He still has further workouts planned with the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz to come before he will have to make a decision on his future.
His guardian and former Victory Rock Prep coach, Loren Jackson, indicated to the Courier-Journal that the response from NBA teams so far has been encouraging.
"The feedback's been great: They love his size, his length," Jackson said.
Quoting that Kawhi Leonard was his role model in an interview last year with The Pick and Roll, Adel was on an early candidate watch list for the 2017 Julius Erving small forward of the year award, averaging 12.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 30.1 minutes per game this season, via ESPN. Adel was also named The Pick and Roll's Most Improved Player of all the Australian's in Division I basketball, also landing a coveted spot in the All-Australian First Team.
Despite his increased output for the Cardinals last season and some positive feedback from NBA teams, current projections by respected mock draft boards have Adel going undrafted. All the signs suggest that Adel will return to Louisville for his junior year. This was further reinforced by Jackson's additional statement.
"What Coach Pitino wants to do with him next year," Jackson said, "will enhance his opportunities. He wants to go to a Final Four. He loves Louisville. He wants to be a lottery pick. This is just giving us him good feedback on what he needs to do to do those things. Just to position himself for the future is great."
With Louisville's Donovan Mitchell headed to the NBA, Adel would have the opportunity to play off-guard and the chance to have the ball in his hands more should he return. With that kind of opportunity on a perennial NCAA Tournament contender shaped by Rick Pitino, it is hard to see Adel keeping his name in the draft alongside fellow Australian's Jonah Bolden and Isaac Humphries. If he does, the chances are he will go undrafted.