Grandison, Hutcherson enter names into NBA Draft

Grandison, Hutcherson enter names into NBA Draft



illinois seniors Jacob Grandison and Austin Hutcherson both entered their names into the NBA Draft. Grandison and Hutcherson are two of 283 players on the NBA’s official list of draft entries, joining two-time Illini All-American center Kofi Cockburn. Players had until Sunday to enter the draft.

Neither player has personally announced whether he intends to test the waters and could return to college or if he is all-in on his professional pursuits. Both players potentially have one season of eligibility left to play in college due to the extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic.

According to NCAA rules, college players have until June 1 to withdraw from the draft and maintain college eligibility. Grandison and Hutcherson are currently not listed among top-100 NBA Draft prospects, according to ESPN and NBADraft.net.

After transferring from Holy Cross and sitting out the 2019-20 season, Grandison was a key starter for the Illini the last two seasons. He averaged 9.6 points and 3.8 rebounds last season and shot 41% from three. Grandison, 24, suffered a shoulder injury late in the season, one that Brad Underwood said would require surgery, and was noticeably limited in his return to the court. During the Illini’s two NCAA Tournament games, he played 13 minutes and did not attempt a jump shot, which limited the Illini’s offense.

Underwood last week said he and Grandison would have a discussion about his future.

“He’s had a wonderful impact,” Underwood said last week. “He was probably as important to our success as any player we had. …We’ll have conversations and see what his options are.”

Hutcherson, 24, played just four games at Illinois during the last two seasons due to injuries. He originally transferred from Division-III Wesleyan, where he averaged 20.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a sophomore. But after Underwood hyped Hutcherson as an athletic shot-maker who could push for a big role, Hutcherson missed the 2020-21 with a back injury and then missed most of the 2021-22 season due to sports hernia surgery.

Hutcherson seems unlikely to have a certain role at Illinois following two lost seasons due to injury, and Underwood said Hutcherson had been training away from the team in recent weeks.

“We’ll see where that takes him,” Underwood said last week.


What it means: Neither decision is a surprise as both have been in college for five years already. Illinois likely would love to have Grandison back because the Illini could lose, if Grandison stays in the draft, 148 of its 166 starts from last season’s Big Ten regular-season championship team, and Grandison would provide much-needed experience, shooting and steadiness for a team that will go from one of the oldest in college basketball to one of the youngest in the Big Ten. Neither player is likely to be drafted, but Grandison showed enough as a shooter and skilled offensive player to set up a potentially long professional career playing basketball somewhere. Hutcherson could benefit by returning to a year of college and staying healthy to show his talent. Whether that’d be at Illinois is uncertain.

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