Ignas Brazdeikis, Jordan Poole, Charles Matthews Declare for 2019 NBA Draft

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2019

Michigan forward Ignas Brazdeikis speaks during a news conference at the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Anaheim, Calif., Wednesday, March 27, 2019. Michigan plays Texas Tech in a West Regional semifinal on Thursday.(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Chris Carlson/Associated Press

Michigan forward Ignas Brazdeikis and guards Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews announced their intentions to enter the 2019 NBA draft Tuesday. 

"Charles, Jordan and Iggy have all decided to take the next steps in pursuing their dreams of playing in the NBA," Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. "The new process is a unique experience and one that my staff and I will assist in every way we can. We want each of them to utilize this opportunity to get more feedback so they can make the best decision possible for themselves and their families. All three are remarkable young men with amazing futures in front on them."

Brazdeikis averaged 14.8 points and 5.4 rebounds while earning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors. 

"As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be an NBA player—not just an NBA player, but an NBA All-Star," Brazdeikis told ESPN's Jonathan Givony. "My intent is to be drafted this year as high as I can be and start my journey."

Brazdeikis is currently considered a second-round pick and is No. 48 on ESPN's top 100 list.

Poole and Matthews also plan to sign with an agent and are each considered borderline second-round picks, coming in at Nos. 68 and 69, respectively, on ESPN's rankings. Poole has two years of eligibility remaining, while Matthews has one. 

"Many people have known about my desire to play professionally, and my family and I are blessed to begin that process again," Matthews said. "After gaining so much valuable information last year, I am looking forward to taking that next step. Everyone at Michigan holds a special place in my heart, especially Coach Beilein and the staff. They have helped make this opportunity for me and my family, and I will always be thankful. The journey has only just begun."

"The last two years here at Michigan have been amazing and filled with so many memories," Poole said. "I've not only become a better player but a better individual. Being able to play in the NBA has always been my dream since I was young. I am confident that with my faith in God and hard work that I, and my family, are prepared to look at all options and make the right decision for the next step of my playing career."

Under new NCAA rules, players are allowed to sign with agents and retain their eligibility. Those agents can pay for meals, housing, etc. during the draft process, and players who go undrafted can retain their eligibility. This is a change from previous years, where signing with an agent would automatically end a player's college career. 

Players who wish to return to school if they go undrafted must participate in the NBA combine. 

The change seems especially important to Matthews and Poole, who are each on the borderline of going undrafted. All three players could ultimately have a change of heart and return to Michigan, which would be a major boost for a team many expected to compete for a national title before Tuesday's announcements. 

Brazdeikis will try to pitch NBA teams on his ability to stretch the floor, along with an ability to put the ball on the deck and create shots for himself. He's got athleticism and size concerns—he's definitely built more like an NBA 3—but shouldn't have trouble finding a home early in Round 2.

Poole will likewise be pushing his offensive bag of tricks, along with potential on the defensive end. He struggles creating for others but can be dynamic at times for himself off the dribble while also showing some flashes defensively.

Matthews is the best athlete and defender of the trio but may have trouble scoring at the NBA level. His jumper needs a ton of work to even reach an average level, and he relies too much on athleticism in a league where everyone is athletic. 

There's a real chance all three are back in Ann Arbor this fall. 

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