On Thursday evening, Alabama sophomore guard Jaden Shackelford announced his plans to enter the 2021 NBA draft without hiring an agent, maintaining his remaining years of college eligibility.
“First and foremost, I would like to give God the glory for all the wonders he has worked in my life,” Shackelford shared on social media. “I want to give a special thank you to my parents, my siblings and the rest of my family for their unconditional love, support and countless sacrifices throughout this journey. Words will never be able to show how appreciate and grateful I am.
“I want to thank Bama Nation for embracing me, a young overlooked kid from the west coast pursing a dream. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everybody inside of this program for believing in me and helping me grow as not only a basketball player, but as a complete young man.
“The NBA has been my dream since I was a little kid playing in the driveway. Now I have the opportunity to make it a reality. With that being said, I will be entering the 2021 NBA Draft without an agent to receive as much valuable feedback as I can regarding my future. Roll Tide!”
The Hesperia, Calif. product was the Crimson Tide’s leading scorer during the 2020-2021 campaign, averaging 14.0 points in 33 games. He also averaged 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 41 percent from the field on his way to earning second-team All-SEC honors.
In 2019-2020, Shackelford earned a spot on the All-SEC Freshman Team by averaging 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
Last year, John Petty Jr. and Herbert Jones entered the 2020 NBA draft without an agent but decided to return to school for their senior years. Kira Lewis Jr. was a lottery pick for Alabama, when he selected 14th overall by the New Orleans Pelicans.
Earlier in the week, Crimson Tide coach Nate Oats said he was expecting some underclassmen to test the NBA draft waters. Shackelford is the first to do so.
“I would expect some guys to,” Oats told the media on Wednesday. “Guys that are some of our better players that put up some good numbers, we’ve had some conversations. They’ve gotta put their name in. I’m not gonna go through and list everybody, but look at who put up some of our better numbers. To me, it probably makes sense to test the waters, get some feedback, and I don’t think it’s the worst thing either. I want guys that wanna be in the NBA. If you wanna be in the NBA, let’s get feedback from NBA people.
“If a guy’s got a guaranteed first-round contract, he probably needs to go. We’re here to make our players better, we’re here to make their future better. If you’ve got that type of guaranteed money, I’m not gonna convince you to come back if it’s not the best decision for you, your family, your future, your career. They’ve gotta get feedback like that on that stuff. I would expect there to be a few that would test it to see what they’ve got. But at the end of the day, if they don’t have a guaranteed first-round contract, most of the time it makes sense to come back and try to play your way up into it.”
The date for early entrants to withdraw their names is July 19.