Iowa Hawkeyes guard Peter Jok will at least explore the possibility of going to the NBA by entering his name for the 2016 draft without hiring an agent.
Jok announced his decision Thursday in a release through the school, per HawkCentral.com's Chad Leistikow, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's going to the pros. Leistikow refers to a new rule that allows underclassmen to go through the NBA combine process with the chance to still return to school.
As long as Jok doesn't hire an agent, he'll be permitted to participate in the combine as he determines what to do with his basketball future.
Leistikow's report featured a statement from Jok on the situation:
I would like to take advantage of the opportunity that is now presented to underclassmen in going through the process of obtaining input from NBA personnel so that I can make an informed decision about my future. For me, this whole process is for experience to see how it all works and then return to work on my game. It's comforting having the support of coach (Fran) McCaffery and staff. Coach will continue to be a valuable resource for me during this process. If it's not the right time for me to make the move to the NBA, I'm excited about returning and leading our team next season.
The Hawkeyes lost to Villanova in the NCAA tournament's round of 32 but saw Jok step up in a big way as a junior. He finished second on the squad with 16.1 points per contest and shot 40.2 percent from three-point range.
ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman felt Jok made the right call in light of the new rules:
Jeff Goodman @GoodmanESPN
Iowa's Peter Jok testing the waters and declaring for the draft -- without an agent. Why not?2016-3-24 17:29:51
Iowa is already losing its 2015-16 leading scorer in Jarrod Uthoff, so it would benefit from Jok's return. The door is still wide open for that possibility, and it seems as though Jok is bound to stick around for another year of college development.
HawkeyeNation.com's Jon Miller doesn't believe Jok is quite ready to make the leap:
Jon Miller @hawkeyenation
Peter Jok has improved immensely this year, and is a fantastic shooter. That said, I cannot imagine him getting a 1st round grade this year2016-3-23 21:28:18
But going through at least a fair portion of the predraft process is a savvy decision for someone with NBA aspirations.
Jok will at least have a feel for what it's like, and he will know what to improve upon to ensure his game translates as well as possible to the professional level. Should he surprise scouts in workouts and see his stock soar, he won't have to worry about all of that next year anyway.
This really is a win-win situation for Jok. Should he exceed expectations and put himself in a position to get drafted, he can spend a year honing his skills in the D-League against superior competition.
Should the NBA not work out this time around, Jok will be the clear senior leader of the Hawkeyes in 2016-17 and stands to boost his stock under those circumstances anyway. Either way, it's likely to take another season for Jok to emerge as an NBA roster candidate.