Tennessee men’s basketball players Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson have submitted paperwork to make themselves eligible for the NBA draft, UT associate sports information director Tom Satkowiak confirmed Monday.
New Vols coach Cuonzo Martin said Monday he wasn’t surprised by the players’ decisions. Both had indicated since the end of the season that they planned to test the NBA draft waters.
“For those two guys, they’ve got to let it play out and showcase their talent,’’ Martin said. “If they don’t feel good about their situations or opportunities, they’re welcome back.’’
The deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft was 11:59 p.m.
Hopson and Harris have until May 8 to declare their intentions to UT athletic director Mike Hamilton if they plan to return for another year of eligibility, provided they have not signed with agents.
The NBA draft will take place on June 23. Individual workouts with NBA teams begin Thursday.
Harris, a Freshman All-America pick at power forward, has been going through workouts at UT and attending classes, but he also spent some April weekends in Houston to workout with former NBA coach and current NBA pre-camp director John Lucas.
Hopson, a junior All-SEC shooting guard, has not participated in the Vols’ team workouts, choosing instead to workout in New Jersey and South Florida. Hopson kept up with his studies through prearrangements with his professors, according to Martin.
“I’ve stayed in touch with Scotty, and I’ve spoken with his mother,’’ Martin said. “I’ve watched six films from last season, and Scotty is a guy who can really score the ball that we would love to have back.
“He has all the tools to be a great player; the size, athleticism, the ability to shoot the ball and he can get to the rim.’’
Hopson, 6-6, 195, is projected to be selected as the No. 46 pick (second round) to the Los Angeles Lakers by DraftExpress.com and is not projected to be selected by NBADraft.net.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Harris is projected as the No. 19 pick in the first round to the Charlotte Bobcats by NBADraft.net and the No. 24 pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder by DraftExpress.com.
“I get asked what I’m going to do every day,’’ Harris said. “I just say, ‘I don’t know.’ I’m going to go to workouts and do my best and not hold anything back.’’
Harris said working out with the team the past three weeks has let him know he has a “win, win” decision on his hands.
“Working out with the new coaches has been great,’’ Harris said. “It lets me know we’ll be working hard and will get better each day.’’