Kyle Wiltjer has decided to return for his senior basketball season at Gonzaga University, according to a GU source. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound forward had been considering the possibility of declaring for the NBA Draft but informed coaches and teammates he’ll be back. The early entry NBA Draft deadline is Sunday.
Kyle Wiltjer Rumors
Jeff Goodman: Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer is considering declaring for NBA, sources confirm to ESPN. NBA execs just told me he might go undrafted.
One NBA executive cited Saric and Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-10 Canadian forward from Portland (he is committed to Kentucky next season) as the two Internationals with the best upside physically. “There are so many things that can happen over the next few years — he doesn’t mature, or he doesn’t improve,” said another NBA exec of Saric. “But he’s a guy with size and a tremendous feel for the game, and to see that at his age is uncommon.”
Wiltjer was impressed with several things about Kentucky. He has great respect for coach John Calipari and his record of sending players to the NBA. He feels he’ll fit well in Calipari’s uptempo system of play. And he was swayed by a great recruiting class Calipari has compiled for 2011. “I want to surround myself with the best players, so I can push myself in practice every day and get better,” Wiltjer says. “Coach Cal does a great job of pushing players. I’ve gotten to know him the last couple of months. I feel I can trust him.”
Calipari sent five players to the NBA this summer, with Kentucky becoming the first program in history to have five selected in the first round of the draft. Four of them, including No. 1 pick John Wall, were freshmen. “I’m going into college thinking I’m going to stay for four years,” Wiltjer says. “I’m just going to work my hardest and whatever happens, happens. If there is an opportunity to go earlier (to the NBA), I’m going to take it. I’m going to keep an open mind.”