After reevaluating his NBA aspirations, former North Dakota State basketball sensation Grant Nelson has chosen to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to college for another season of honing his skills. Among the many collegiate powerhouses expressing interest in the towering 6-foot-11 power forward, the University of Kentucky stands out as a particularly appealing destination for the gifted player.
Grant Nelson Favoring Kentucky Wildcats
Nelson, who originally declared for the NBA Draft while also putting his name in the college basketball transfer portal, has now opted to retreat from the draft, focusing instead on a more deliberate development of his game. As per sources, he was not listed in any credible mock drafts, which fueled his decision to withdraw.
This move has unleashed a wave of excitement across the college basketball landscape, especially within programs looking to strengthen their rosters. The University of Kentucky, grappling with a roster of merely seven scholarship players for the next season, is most likely at the top of the list of those eager to attract Nelson.
Kentucky’s renowned head coach, John Calipari, reached out to Nelson early, exhibiting the Wildcats’ interest in the player. As the Wildcats navigate a challenging offseason, recruiting efforts are being intensified, with a keen eye on bolstering their frontcourt, especially after Oscar Tshiebwe confirmed he would be turning pro. Nelson’s withdrawal from the NBA Draft may present an opportune solution for the Kentucky squad.
There it is 😔
Oscar Tshiebwe will not return to Kentucky.
— Kentucky Kavalry #BBN (@KentuckyKavalry) May 31, 2023
Coming off a remarkable season at North Dakota State, Nelson’s stats make a compelling case for his future success. Averaging 17.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game, and leading his conference in rebounding and field-goal percentage, he displayed his value on the court with impressive consistency. His ability to perform on a high level, coupled with his size and skills, make him a highly sought-after addition to any college roster.
Nelson on Upward Trajectory
Nelson’s history of development and growth is also a key point of interest. Despite entering college as an unrated prospect, his career has seen a steady trajectory upward. His breakout 2022-23 season, where he led North Dakota State in scoring, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals, provides a glimpse into his potential at the major-conference level. Nelson’s capacity for rapid growth may be a key asset for a team like Kentucky, who could benefit from his increasing momentum.
While Nelson’s withdrawal from the NBA Draft indicates a change in trajectory, it also presents him with an opportunity to enhance his skills, further boost his draft stock, and set himself up for a potential first-round pick in the future. A transfer to a school like Kentucky would not only provide him with the experience of playing in a major conference, but it would also likely offer lucrative NIL opportunities.
Given the potential match of Kentucky’s needs and Nelson’s prowess, there’s a significant possibility that Nelson may soon sport the Wildcats’ blue and white. The prospect of this powerful player joining their ranks may very well signal a promising future for the Kentucky Wildcats.
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Source: Basketball Insider