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Houston's Armoni Brooks: "I plan on coming back. 100 percent."
The Saxenian Family
POSTED: April 12, 2019 -- 6:11 p.m. CDT
Thursday afternoon, Houston Cougars' junior guard Armoni Brooks announced he was declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.
Despite stating his reasons for the declaring for the Draft are to go through the process and learn from NBA personnel what areas of his game he needs to improve, some people questioned his decision and feel like he's making a mistake.
"...I want to know what I need to get better at and where I stand in playing professionally. Throughout the draft process, I will maintain my NCAA Eligibility."
Friday morning, Brooks and Houston Cougars Men's Head Coach Kelvin Sampson spoke to the media to clear the air; and, perhaps, calm a few heads.
Brooks plans to return to the University of Houston for his senior season in 2019-'20.
"It's just a great opportunity," Brooks said. "Being able to go through the process. See what you need to work on and get valuable feedback that I could use to come back and develop my game and just make our team better."
The Saxenian Family
Coach Sampson was surprised Armoni's decision received so much attention.
"It's surprising that it got this much attention," Sampson remarked. "Damyean Dotson did the same thing after his junior year. But, we encouraged him (Armoni to go through the NBA Draft process) to. Actually, I wanted DeJon (DeJon Jarreau) to do it. Those guys need to do it.
"The NBA does a great thing. We get our assessment packet at the end of the year; and, I go to the kids. There's certain ones that should find out what their feedback is. You get your feedback and then you go on."
Brooks wants the NBA to tell him what he needs to do to get better.
"I don't want to go there and them (NBA personnel) just tell me that I'm a good shooter because I feel like that they're coaches and they know that. But, I just want them to tell me, maybe, 'Get stronger.'; 'Focus more on making the right play.'; 'Maybe ball-handling'.
"I want them to critique me on the negative sides of my game; so, that I can use that to build."
The Saxenian Family
Brooks, 6'3", averaged 13.4 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game this past season. He made 121 threes (in 37 games) this season on 39.0 three-point shooting.
Beginning this year, an early entrant who requests an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee can hire an NCAA-certified agent without worrying about losing his remaining college eligibility.
Brooks explained the process of declaring for the Draft.
"There was a deadline on April 11 to send in the paperwork (to the NBA to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft); so, we got that sent in. There's another deadline for the 21st to actually enter the Draft. After that, they'll send you written evaluations on what they think of you; and, then, you can decide whether you want to go (pro) or come back for the physical evaluations. After the 21st, you can start getting workouts. I believe."
College underclassmen and international early entrants have until the end of the day on April 21 (Easter Sunday) to submit their names into the 2019 NBA draft pool. They can always withdraw their names later if they decide they're not quite ready to go pro.
Once the early entrant list is set, NBA teams can begin conducting or attending workouts for those players.
The NBA Draft Combine takes place May 15 to 19. The NCAA's early entrant withdrawal deadline is May 29, 2019 (10:59 p.m. CDT).
College underclassmen who want to retain their NCAA eligibility will have to withdraw their names from the draft pool by May 29. NBA rules call for a later withdrawal deadline, but the NCAA has its own set of rules that say the deadline is 10 days after the combine.
Coach Sampson told the media what happened when Damyean Dotson declared for the NBA Draft and received feedback from the NBA.
"When Dot got his feedback, when the NBA called, they called me; and, I said, 'Listen, I don't relay information. You guys have to talk to him.' So, I called Dot into my office. He got on the phone with them; and, they told him what the feedback was. Dot said, 'thank you'; and, went back to the gym and worked his butt off; had a great senior year; and was the 42nd pick by the New York Knicks. That's the way it goes."
Sampson views Brooks' decision to declare for the Draft and go through the process as a positive the Houston basketball program.
"I mean Armoni is not going to be - Armoni wasn't the first one," Sampson commented. "He's not going to be the last one. But, a kid like Caleb Mills (redshirt freshman guard who sat out the 2018-'19 season). There'll be a day when he puts his name in. Nate Hinton could put his name in there. DeJon Jarreau. We got kids that we're recruiting right now that's close to committing they probably will, too.
"But, you're used to other schools doing it; but, we knew there would come a day. As our program grows; and, our recruiting starts to elevate, it's just a by-product of it. It's not something you worry about. It's why you recruit."
Brooks views the process and gaining feedback as a win-win for him and the team.
"It's a win-win. If I don't feel like it's going to work out; then, just come back and use everything that they told me," Brooks mentioned. "Build my game and just get better. Then, hopefully, next year, when I'm a senior, just have a better year."
Brooks added, he hopes to build upon the success of the 2018-'19 season in '19-'20.
"Yes; and, I love my teammates and the coaching staff," Brooks acknowledged. "I don't want my time to be cut short with them. I still feel like next year we're going to have a really good team; and, I feel like that we can, hopefully, go further than we did this year. I just want to come back and, hopefully, leave a better legacy than we did last year."
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