With the NBA Draft just a couple of months away, a handful of Mississippi players have entered their names into the mix while maintaining their college eligibility just in case they don’t like what they hear from scouts.
Below is a list of who will be testing the waters leading up to this year’s NBA Draft on June 22.
Tolu Smith, Mississippi State
Arguably the biggest name on the list, Tolu Smith has improved each year since transferring to Starkville from Western Kentucky after his freshman year. The 6’11” center went from starting zero games at WKU to averaging 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds on the way to a first-team All-SEC senior campaign. Smith was also named winner of the Howell Trophy, given annually to the state’s top player in college basketball. If he decides to withdraw from the NBA Draft, he will have one year of eligibility remaining thanks to COVID-19.
Matthew Murrell, Ole Miss
After three seasons in Oxford, Matthew Murrell has decided to give the NBA Draft a shot as a junior. During his career at Ole Miss, the 6’4” guard averaged 10.4 points and 2.5 rebounds capped off by a 2022-23 stat line of 14.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. If a return to college is in play, Murrell will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Austin Crowley, Southern Miss
Transferring from Ole Miss to Southern Miss catapulted Austin Crowley into the draft conversation as the 6’4” guard went from averaging five points per game with the Rebels to leading the Golden Eagles in scoring at 16 points per game. On top of the burst in scoring, Crowley averaged 4.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.9 steals for Southern Miss on the way to the program’s first regular-season conference championship since 2000-01. A junior like Murrell, Crowley will have two years of eligibility if he were to return to Hattiesburg.