Florida State Seminoles 5-star recruit Jonathan Isaac may not play for Florida State after all.
Isaac, the top-ranked prospect in Florida, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, told Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel on Friday that he will explore the possibility he could forgo playing with the Seminoles to try to enter the 2016 NBA draft.
Isaac, who attends IMG Academy, is in his fifth year of prep basketball. Thamel noted that, according to NBA rules, American basketball players need to be a year removed from graduating high school and also be at least 19 years old to enter the draft. Isaac will turn 19 on Oct. 3.
Thamel also pointed out a new rule that allows prospects to enter the draft and withdraw their names without complicating their status as college athletes. Isaac could participate in the combine and hold a workout, and if he doesn't like the results, he would still be able to play for Florida State in 2016-17. He told Thamel that he would be "happy" to join the Seminoles if that were the case.
However, Jonathan Givony of Draft Express noted Isaac may be ineligible to enter the draft because he does not have his diploma, and teams that have already inquired about his eligibility were told by the NBA he is not eligible:
Isaac's issue is that while he's in his 5th year of high school, he's not a year removed from graduating high school. Maybe if he drops out?— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) February 5, 2016
A player hasn't been drafted out of high school since 2005, when three high school players (Martell Webster, Andrew Bynum and Gerald Green) went in the first round. Green is the only one still in the league.
"I think it's cool and scary. A little bit of both," Isaac told Thamel about possibly being the first player since 2005 to be drafted out of high school. "It's cool because no one has done it in a decade, and it's still scary because I don't want it to be a bad decision."
Isaac is the 12th-best prospect and the third-best small forward in the nation, according to 247Sports' composite rankings, and he highlights Florida State's No. 10 recruiting class. The Seminoles, who are 15-7 and looking to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012, are on the rise in the ACC.
Isaac could make Florida State a contender next year. But he could also be the first to take advantage of this loophole and go pro.