It seems the biggest things of note at Monday’s Arkansas basketball banquet were about the season to come, not the one that just finished up.
That includes junior center Moses Kingsley (6-10, 230) announcing a day later that he will declare for the NBA Draft, but not hire an agent so he can keep his senior year of eligibility during the process.
The decision means that Kingsley can attend workouts for NBA teams starting April 26 and also attend the NBA Draft Camp in Chicago on May 11-15.
Doing those two things will allow him to get feedback before making a decision on whether to come back for his senior season.
This is the first year that college prospects are allowed to declare for the draft by April 24, go to the workouts and NBA Pre-Draft Camp and still pull their name back out by June 13 - 10 days before the draft.
“This is a great opportunity for Moses to get an evaluation for the next level and take full advantage of the new rules in place,” Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. “He emerged as one of the elite players in the SEC this year and we fully support his decision to explore his options.”
The deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return for his senior year is May 25.
"After thinking about my future and talking with Coach Anderson and the rest of the coaching staff, I have decided to enter the 2016 NBA Draft without hiring an agent,” Kingsley said. “I feel that getting an evaluation on myself after my junior year is the right thing to do while still keeping eligibility to play for my Hogs. I can't wait to see what God has for me in the future.”
The Abuja, Nigeria native earned 2015-16 second team All-SEC honors and was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team after averaging 15.9 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per contest. He was one of eight high-major players with 16 double-doubles on the year and was named one of 10 finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award as the nation’s top center.
Kingsley, who was named Co-MVP of the Razorbacks along with senior Anthlon Bell at Monday night’s banquet, was a second-team All-SEC selection this past season and blocked 76 shots.
Anderson thinks Kingsley, who is not projected to be drafted in any of the various mock drafts, to be smart about the process.
“I think he will go in with his eyes open, knowing there is some things that he has to continue to work on,” Anderson said. “Most importantly, it gives him some feedback.”
Both Jimmy Whitt and fellow true freshman Lorenzo “Doobie” Jenkins will transfer per releases from Arkansas, who finished 16-16 this season after going 27-9 and making the NCAA Tournament the season before.
The Razorbacks signed four players in the early signing period and are set to ink Birmingham, Ala., Central Park Christian swingman C.J. Jones (6-5, 180) during the month-long late signing period that opens on Wednesday.
That leaves at least two open scholarships for the 2016 class if Anderson chooses to use them.
“We have always been actively recruiting and to that point we may use one of them and we may save the other,” Anderson said Monday night. “It just depends as we recruit young men and get kids on our campus, who we bring in and what takes place.
“But I am excited about the core group we have here and the recruiting class - a Top 20 class - that we have coming in to add on.”
Arkansas expects to return guards Dusty Hannahs, Anton Beard and Manuale Watkins and forwards Kingsley, Trey Thompson and Dustin Thomas.
They will add in guard Jaylen Barford, Daryl Macon and Jones and forward Arlando Cook and Adrio Bailey.
“I think the experience that we didn’t have this year, we do have coming back next year with Moses Kingsley, you’ve got Dusty Hannahs, who is possible an all-conference type player, Anton Beard - a guy that was (SEC) All-Freshman as a freshmen. You’ve got him for a full year and you’ve got Manuale Watkins, Trey Thompson, who continues to come on.
“And a guy like Dustin Thomas - D.T. - who continues to come on. I am excited about him to sit out and hopefully have an impact such as Dusty Hannahs did this year.”
Anderson was asked what type of player he would be looking to add.
“It could be a 6-6, 6-7 kind of guy, an athletic kind of guy, it could be a big guy, it could be a guard,” Anderson said. “But we are involved with a lot of kids. We are going to use it wisely.”