Alabama's John Petty Jr. Declares for 2020 NBA Draft, Will Maintain Eligibility

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2020

KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 19: John Petty #23 of the Alabama Crimson Tide dribbles during the first half of the game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena on January 19, 2019 in Knoxville, Tennessee. Tennessee won the game 71-68. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)
Donald Page/Getty Images

Alabama junior guard John Petty Jr. announced on his Instagram page Wednesday that he was declaring for the 2020 NBA draft, though he will maintain his eligibility.   

Alabama men's basketball head coach Nate Oats said Tuesday that he expected both Petty and Kira Lewis Jr.—two of the team's three leading scorers this past season—to enter the draft.

"The two main ones are Lewis and Petty, they're both going to put their name into the [NBA] draft," Oats said, per Alex Byington of the Montgomery Advertiser. "They're going to go through workouts whenever those are. That's the thing too, everything's just up in the air."

Petty was excellent for the Crimson Tide in 2019-20, averaging 14.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from three, his best career mark by nearly seven percentage points. 

Only Lewis (18.5) and Jaden Shackelford (15.0) scored more points per game for Alabama this season.

Oats said the Crimson Tide are proceeding as if neither player will return:

"Based on feedback that they get, they both may leave, (and) we're planning on possibly not having either of them back. ... The best course of action is to plan on them both leaving and if they happen to come back then it's a pleasant surprise.

"I think for them both it's going to be a family decision, a personal decision as to how comfortable they are with leaving, but those are the two I've talked to and the two that will be doing all the workouts."

The Athletic's Sam Vecenie ranked Lewis as the No. 23 prospect in the 2020 draft class on his Feb. 28 big board, putting him in the first-round conversation, while Petty is far less of a guarantee to be drafted. Vecenie had him ranked 70th on his big board.

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman, meanwhile, projected Lewis to be the 15th overall pick for the Orlando Magic in his latest first-round mock draft, writing that he "offers a unique element of speed to put more pressure on defenses" and has the "ability to break down opponents and create scoring opportunities."

Petty was not one of the players Wasserman projected to be a first-round pick.