USF basketball fans hoping the roster from this season's 24-14 squad would remain mostly intact saw that possibility dissipate ever so slightly Monday.
Fourth-year junior point guard Laquincy Rideau, the American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year, announced Monday evening via Twitter he’ll enter his name in the NBA draft but won’t hire an agent.
If he withdraws his name, he’ll preserve his final season of eligibility.
“I want to use this opportunity to evaluate what skills I need to develop more and what I need to work on in order to become a better player and make it to the next level,” Rideau posted.
College underclassmen (and international early entrants) had until the end of the day Sunday to submit their names into the draft pool. Those who wish to retain their eligibility must withdraw their names by May 29. The draft is June 20.
“With his performances this past season, he has earned the opportunity to explore this tremendous option,” Bulls coach Brian Gregory tweeted.
A transfer from Gardner-Webb who sat out the 2017-18 season per NCAA rules, Rideau brought a new dimension to Gregory’s offense this past winter, driving for layups or drawing fouls with his consistent dribble penetration.
He averaged 13.4 points and 5.4 assists, and ranked second on the team with 164 free-throw attempts. Defensively, his AAC-best 101 steals shattered a Bulls single-season record that stood for 45 years.
He became only the sixth player in the last 20 years to have a points-assists-steals triple-double when he achieved the feat (18 points, 10 assists, 10 steals) in a Jan. 12 overtime loss at Temple.
Exactly where this exploratory process will lead Rideau in the coming weeks is unclear.
If he’s not invited to next month’s NBA draft combine in Chicago, he possibly could participate in the G League Elite Camp (also in Chicago), which features 40 draft-eligible prospects not invited to the combine. He also could work out for individual teams.
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.