Tennessee's Jaden Springer Declares for 2021 NBA Draft, Will Hire Agent

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMarch 29, 2021

Tennessee's Jaden Springer (11) shoots against South Carolina-Upstate during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Knoxville, Tenn. (Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP, Pool)
Saul Young/Associated Press

Tennessee freshman Jaden Springer is moving to the NBA after announcing his intention to enter the draft Monday. 

Jaden Springer @jadenspringer11

🙏🏽 https://t.co/KU6XldS2sf

The 18-year-old was one of the top combo guard recruits in the country last year, so his decision isn't too much of a surprise. Before he averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists with the Volunteers, 247Sports ranked him the No. 16 player overall in the class of 2020.

He backed that up with a freshman year strong enough to test his standing as a pro after helping Tennessee reach the NCAA tournament—ultimately falling to Oregon State in the First Round.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected him as his No. 16 overall pick in February: 

"Though Springer skeptics question his athleticism and playmaking, his scoring efficiency (49.0 field-goal percentage), shooting (15-of-32 on three-pointers), passing IQ, defense and age (18) should be enough for a mid-first-round team to look past his limited transition offense and assist numbers."

Sam Vecenie of The Athletic was more skeptical, ranking him at No. 22 on his big board in January, but he noted Springer would benefit from a second year in college:

"Unlike a lot of freshmen across college hoops this year, Springer has been an efficient decision-maker who generally does the right thing out on the floor, moves well without the ball and doesn't play like a goofball. A couple of worries here in terms of translation that he'll need to work through, though. First, his jumper is very mechanical and robotic. He really needs to set before shooting it. There isn't much here yet in terms of movement shooting. Second, he has to do everything off two feet now. If he's dribble driving, it's a jump stop into a two-foot floater or a two-foot load leap into a finish at the rim." 

Because he is signing with an agent, Springer will not retain his NCAA eligibility and cannot return to school. The NCAA allows players to declare for the combine and receive feedback from pro scouts without losing their college eligibility as long as they don't hire representation.