Despite speculation he could depart, USC basketball’s Chimezie Metu announced on social media that he will return to the Trojans for the 2017-18 season, skipping the 2017 NBA Draft.
Hey, it’s good NBA news for Andy Enfield’s Trojans. Chimezie Metu has spurned the 2017 NBA Draft and will return for his junior season, per a post on Instagram.
The news comes after Bennie Boatwright, Elijah Stewart and Shaqquan Aaron entered their names into the NBA Draft pool, all three hoping to get a better look at their pro stock before making a decision about their USC future.
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Metu is a better prospect than Boatwright, Stewart or Aaron, but the sophomore wasn’t a guarantee to be drafted, hence his return to USC.
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman listed Metu at No. 48 on his post-tournament Big Board, but on early two-round NBA mock drafts, he was uncalled. DraftExpress.com didn’t project him in their 2017 mock draft either, though Metu is listed as high as No. 16 in their 2018 draft.
Metu came along leaps and bounds as a sophomore after a bright freshman campaign. For the 2016-17 season, the forward averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game while leading the Trojans with 55 blocks and a field goal percentage of 55.2.
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With the athletic big man providing a steady presence, USC set a program record for wins in a season and came within seconds of the Sweet 16 during their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
Now he’ll anchor a team that even without Boatwright could feature Derryck Thornton and Charles O’Bannon Jr. in its starting lineup.
The annual Pac-12 awards honored Metu as the conference’s Most Improved Player in 2016-17.