Max Abmas was the breakout star of the NCAA tournament.
Oral Roberts point guard Max Abmas led the country in scoring (24.2 points per game) and turned in a Stephen Curry circa 2008 NCAA tournament performance (26.6 ppg.) during a Sweet 16 run this season. His stock couldn’t be higher.
The 6’1″ sophomore took a major step toward cashing in, declaring for the NBA Draft on Sunday.
“I’m officially declaring, but I plan to retain my eligibility throughout the process,” Abmas told Sports Illustrated. “I don’t have an agent as of now, but I wanted to embrace the opportunity to get the feedback necessary to help me decide about my future.”
Abmas was the breakout star of the NCAA tournament with his full repertoire on display, from consistently draining heavily contested NBA three-pointers to effortlessly blowing by perimeter defenders and making plays in the lane. That dominance helped Oral Roberts mow down Power-5 powerhouses Ohio State and Florida and earned the Golden Eagles the tournament’s coveted “Cinderella” label.
“I was able to play some of my best basketball in the postseason on the biggest stage,” said Abmas, who was named Summit Player of the Year and First-Team All-Summit League this season. “Just looking at the year as a whole and how it ended, I wanted to capitalize on this moment.”
Be that as it may, Abmas’s success hasn’t made him a mainstay in the top tier of NBA Draft boards, which point to his size (6’1″, 165 pounds) as his greatest knock.
Abmas is projected as a mid-second round pick in SI’s latest mock draft.
“I’ve been hearing I’m too small my whole life,” Abmas said. “At the end of the day, I’m gonna control what I can control and that’s how hard I work. You see smaller guards in the league having a major impact and that shows that it can definitely be done. What I bring to a team is my ability to stretch the floor, get others involved and play within the offense.”
The last day for players to declare for the NBA Draft is May 30, and the deadline for players to withdraw from the draft is July 19.
Abmas was clear that his goal is not to be concerned with the latter date.
“This is my dream,” Abmas said. “I’m gonna do everything that I can to put myself in the best position, so even though I’m gonna remain eligible to come back, that’s not what I want. I’m confident in what I can do, and I’m determined to live my dream.”