Malik Pope announced on Twitter today that he would be withdrawing his name from the NBA draft and return to school for his junior year.
I've decided after talking with my mom and my coaches that I'm gonna withdraw my name from the NBA draft tomorrow, 5/24.— Malik Pope (@IceBiggie_GBWE) May 24, 2016
Pope was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. However, he had worked out for a number of teams, including the Clippers, Celtics, Lakers and the Jazz.
The return of such a dynamic player is obviously a big deal for the Aztecs and makes them the prohibitive favorite to repeats as Mountain West champions.
Pope, a 6-10 forward, averaged 7.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. At the end of the season he elevated his game, upping his averages to 11.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game over the last 13 contests.
With Pope in the fold, San Diego State will return three starters from last season’s team. With challenges coming from Nevada and New Mexico, the Aztecs will look to continue their dominance against both teams and the Mountain West (SDSU was 4-0 over both).
Pope was expected to be a late second round pick or go undrafted.