The NBA released a list of 242 players from college and professional teams who applied for early entry in the 2023 draft and two members of UCF Men’s Basketball it appeared.
Taylor Hendricksa projected top-10 pick in the June 22 draft, was included as expected.
One name that is somewhat surprising to see listed is the UCF guard Ithiel Horton.
While Hendricks had already gone public for the draft more than a month ago — first telling ESPN and then sharing a graphic on social media — Horton’s decision to file for early entry comes with little to no fanfare.
The redshirt senior guard was one of two Knights to start all 34 games last season. Hendricks, the program’s first major, was the other player to do so.
It’s unclear when Horton made the decision to enter the draft early, but the deadline was Sunday night.
If Horton wants to return and join the Knights in the Big 12 Conference for his final year of eligibility, the NCAA’s early withdrawal deadline is May 31 — 10 days after the end of the pre-draft combine in Chicago.
It’s not uncommon for players to apply for early entry, test the NBA draft waters, and return to school. UCF has had several players do this over the years, including Tacko Fall, Darin Green Jr. and Isaiah Adams.
UCF coach Johnny Dawkins was asked about Horton’s potential return last month.
“As far as I know, he says he’s going to be with us,” Dawkins said on March 23. “I know these things are always fluid so we’ll wait and see, but he hasn’t indicated to us that he wants to go. anywhere else. He has really enjoyed his experience here with us and has continued to develop his game.”
Horton, who transferred to UCF from Pitt after starting his career at Delaware, finished third on the team in scoring (12.3 ppg) and led the Knights with 78 made 3s while shooting 34% beyond the arc.
He also posted career bests in rebounds (127), assists (54) and steals (47).
Despite the high marks, Dawkins believes Horton still has room for improvement if he returns to UCF.
“His best basketball is still ahead of him because he’s only one year into our system,” he said. “It takes some time to get used to the staff and the system. Offensively and defensively, there is an adjustment.
“He’s got a lot of that under his belt now, so going forward, his adjustment becomes a lot less. He’s getting more comfortable in his role and that will continue to help him improve his game.”
Email Jason Beede at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.