Ohio State's CJ Walker Will Go Through NBA Pre-Draft Process, But “Fully Expects” to Return for Senior Season

By Colin Hass-Hill on April 14, 2020 at 1:10 pm
CJ Walker

Kaleb Wesson won’t be the only Buckeye taking a look at his pro options this offseason.

CJ Walker, Ohio State’s redshirt senior point guard, will go through the NBA pre-draft process, Chris Holtmann said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

He’s able to go through the evaluation process while maintaining his college eligibility. The deadline by which Walker has to decide whether or not to stay in school is June 3. The expectation is that he’ll remain in school for his fifth season.

“He fully expects to come back and lead our team,” Holtmann said Tuesday.

By declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft, Walker's able to get feedback from professional teams about what he needs to improve as he prepares for his final year of college basketball. It's a common practice that has only increased in popularity in recent years. Last year, 175 college players entered their names into the 2019 NBA Draft, per 247Sports, with many – including Wesson – opting to eventually pull themselves out of consideration and remain in school.

Walker, in line to start and likely play career-high minutes in 2020-21, averaged 8.7 points, 3.5 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 29 minutes per game as a redshirt junior last season. He shot 42.7 percent from the field, 32.1 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 81.2 percent from the foul line in his first year as a Buckeye after sitting out the season prior due to a transfer from Florida State.

While DJ Carton took a leave of absence, he surged late in last 11 games of the season, seeing increases in minutes per game (26.8 to 33.1), points per game (7.5 to 11.1) and assists per game (3.1 to 4.2) while his turnovers per game decreased (1.8 to 1.7). He strung together six straight games where he scored in double figures to end the season.

Still, Walker does not appear on draft boards of any NBA analysts, which is why he's expected to remain at Ohio State for his redshirt senior season.

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