Sagaba Konate withdrawing from NBA draft: Team source

West Virginia center Sagaba Konate (50) celebrates after beating Oklahoma last season at the WVU Coliseum.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A team source confrms Sagaba Konate intends to withdraw from the NBA draft, giving West Virginia a rim-protecting force to build around next season.

An NBA scouting executive told MetroNews this week the 6-7 sophomore center would be wise to return to school and gather momentum for next season’s draft. Konate projects no higher that a late second-round pick

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman reported Thursday that Konate will remove his name from the draft, and a source within the program confirmed the decision to MetroNews. Because Konate has not hired an agent, he faces a May 30 deadline to officially withdraw from the draft.

WVU later released a statement from Konate regarding his decision:

“I am glad that I was able to gain feedback and to get experience from being invited to the NBA draft combine. It was a great experience, and I’m ready to get back to work with my teammates at West Virginia.”

Konate will be the nation’s top returning shot blocker next season as well as West Virginia’s top returning scorer and rebounder (10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds). His presence figures to make the Mountaineers a preseason top 10 team and among the Big 12 favorites with Kansas and Kansas State.

Earlier this month junior forward Esa Ahmad opted to return to WVU after evaluating his draft potential. Jevon Carter underwent the same process a year ago before returning for a accolade-filled senior season.

“We are pleased that Sags will be back in a Mountaineer uniform,” coach Bob Huggins said. “As with Esa, JC and others in past, Sags went through the process in a systematic and professional manner. The experience and feedback from the NBA draft combine will help him in the future.”

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