Future NC State guard Jalen Lecque at the John Wall Holiday Invitational
Jalen Lecque has entered the NBA draft. The question now is will he stay?
Lecque, N.C. State’s top recruit, posted an update on his draft status on Twitter on Saturday. The 33-second announcement video was more of a formality than a change for the 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard from Teaneck, N.J.
Lecque will still have the option to enroll at N.C. State after the draft process. What makes his case unique is he hasn’t played college basketball — and might not. The NBA’s “one-and-done” rule applies to 18-year-old high school seniors. A fifth-year prep player, Lecque had submitted paperwork earlier in April in the hopes of getting cleared by the NBA. According to Lecque, he was.
Under the rules of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, Lecque is eligible to enter the draft since he will turn 19 during the same calendar year as the draft (his birthday is June 13) and he is at least one year removed from the graduation of his high school class.
He was scheduled to play in the Jordan Brand Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday but decided to skip to the all-star showcase to focus on draft preparation.
Sunday is the deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NBA draft and the deadline to withdraw is May 29. Personnel from all 30 NBA teams will vote on combine invites after the early entrant list is finalized. The combine is May 15-19 in Chicago. The draft is June 20.
Lecque would test well in a combine setting. His athletic ability, and vertical leap in particular, is considered his strength. Lecque is projected as a second-round pick. A combo guard, ranked No. 33 in the class according to 247Sports, he averaged 12.6 points and 4.6 assists per game. He led Brewster Academy (in New Hampshire) to the National Prep Championship.
It has been a busy week for N.C. State basketball. Coach Kevin Keatts added forward Pat Andree, a graduate transfer from Lehigh, on Wednesday while forward Wyatt Walker announced on Friday he will not use his final season of eligibility.
Walker’s exit opened up a scholarship. Derrik Smits, a 7-1 forward from Valparaiso, is taking an official visit this weekend. Smits led Valpo in scoring (12.2 points per game) and rebounding (5.7) and is eligible to play in the 2019-20 season as a grad transfer.
With Lecque and junior guard Markell Johnson on the list of early draft entrants, N.C. State is also pursuing a pair of grad transfer guards.
Christian Keeling, from Charleston Southern, is scheduled to take an official visit to N.C. State in early May. Keeling (6-4, 175 pounds) averaged 18.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season.
N.C. State is also recruiting guard Jaevin Cumberland, who averaged 17.2 points and 3.5 assists at Oakland this past season. Cumberland (6-3, 185) will be eligible to play right away as a grad transfer.