LJ Figueroa to enter 2020 NBA Draft but may return to St. John’s

LJ Figueroa to enter 2020 NBA Draft but may return to St. John’s

St. John’s hasn’t lost any key contributors to the transfer wire, but there is a possibility the professional ranks could take away an important component.

LJ Figueroa, the Red Storm’s leading scorer, announced his intentions on Saturday to enter the NBA draft while keeping his options open of returning to school for his senior year. In a press release, St. John’s said the 6-foot-6 wing isn’t going to hire an agent and sources close to Figueroa, who turned 22 on Saturday, told The Post he is making this decision to get evaluated by NBA executives and scouts.

“These past two years at St. John’s have presented me with tremendous opportunities for growth both on and off the court,” Figueroa said in a statement. “My family, coaches, teammates and my hometown Lawrence, Massachusetts, have helped me develop into the man I am today, and I cannot begin to thank everyone enough. After speaking with my family and coaching staff, I have decided to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft. I intend to keep all of my options open and look forward to the learning experience this process will offer.”

Figueroa had an up-and-down junior season, adjusting to being the focal point of the offense after thriving in his first season in Queens. He averaged 14.5 points per game, but shot just 37.9 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from 3-point range, both down from a year ago. He led the Big East in steals at 1.9 per game and averaged 4.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest. Like his teammates, Figueroa finished strong, scoring 15.7 points on 44.8 percent shooting in the Red Storm’s last four games, three of them wins.

“We support LJ’s decision to pursue his lifelong dream,” St. John’s coach Mike Anderson said. “This is an opportunity to gain valuable information by going through the NBA pre-draft process to make the best decision for his future.”

If Figueroa doesn’t return, it would open up a second scholarship for Anderson. At the moment, St. John’s focus is on adding a big man who can immediately contribute. The Red Storm are recruiting a number of graduate transfer and junior college prospects. They may not know about Figueroa for a while, either, since the expectation is the cutoff date of June 3 for the NBA draft will be pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic that has postponed the season.

“St. John’s, LJ’s family and LJ all are on the same page. Everyone’s in it for LJ to succeed, and the door is open for him to come back for his senior year,” advisor Alex Arias said in a phone interview. “They have been very, very patient during this process. We’ve been working hand in hand.”

Source : Zach Braziller Link

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