Junior Carl Elliott will follow classmate Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock into the NBA draft as an early-entry candidate, the University announced in a news release Monday. The deadline for non-seniors to declare is April 29.
The move makes the two players eligible for the NBA’s pre-draft camp June 6-12 in Orlando, Fla. Early-entry candidates are also permitted by the NCAA to participate in workouts with NBA teams.
In order to retain collegiate eligibility, an early-entry candidate must withdraw his name by June 18 and submit a written letter to Director of Athletics Jack Kvancz declaring his intent to return.
Elliott, like Pinnock, said he expects to return to Foggy Bottom next year as a senior.
“I think the chances are very high of me coming back next year,” Elliott said. “I’m not going into this thing looking to stay. I’m just going to see where I’m at.”
He added, “I want to just see where I am among the top players in the country and also to see where I am with those NBA guys. I want to see if I’m physically and mentally ready to play with those guys.”
Head men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs said he expects both Pinnock and Elliott to return to GW next season.
“I see both of them back,” Hobbs said in a phone interview Tuesday. “A large part will depend on how they do in the draft camp. If they have a chance to be drafted they should follow their dreams.”
The Brooklyn native will wait until the end of the academic year before he begins talking to NBA teams about potential workouts and his chances of being invited to pre-draft camp.
Last year, senior Pops Mensah-Bonsu also tested the draft waters and missed the first three games of the season after unspecified draft improprieties.
Elliott and Pinnock, who both started every game for the Colonials in 2005-2006, were ranked as the seventh best backcourt in the country by sportsillustrated.com. The 6-foot-4 Elliott averaged 11.5 points per game, along with 3.9 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. Pinnock, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, led the team with 14.5 points per game and added 5.3 rebounds. Pinnock was named to the all-conference first team while Elliott was tapped for the second team.
As seniors, Mensah-Bonsu and Mike Hall also hope to be drafted. Mensah-Bonsu received an invitation to last year’s draft camp and is expected to be invited to this year’s, Hobbs said. Hall was not invited to last year’s camp, held in his hometown of Chicago, but worked out for the Boston Celtics.
Saint Louis’ Ian Vouyoukas is the only other Atlantic 10 non-senior who has declared for the draft.
If both players return, Elliott predicted that the squad could be as successful as they were in the 2005-2006 campaign, in which GW went undefeated in conference and won an NCAA Tournament game.
“I think it will be an exciting basketball team to watch,” Elliott said. “We have some good recruits coming in, some good guys. No Pops, Mike, Omar (Williams) or Alex (Kireev), but we got some good players coming in.”
-Jake Sherman contributed to this report.