Louisville basketball: Steven Enoch makes the right decision declaring for NBA Draft


Yesterday it was Jordan Nwora, today it’s Steven Enoch who announced he’ll be declaring for the NBA Draft to test the waters before making a decision on returning to play for the Louisville basketball program.

Yesterday Jordan Nwora announced via Instagram that he would be leaving the Louisville basketball program (at least for now) to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft. He did so without hiring an agent, allowing him the opportunity to return back to school should his feedback and draft positioning not be to his liking.

Now we know that junior big man Steven Enoch, aka the Enochness Monster, will follow in his footsteps also deciding not to hire an agent and focus upon getting feedback from NBA personnel according to his Instagram account.

Enoch will head off (again, for the time being) after putting together a career best year in his first season playing for the Louisville basketball program. After sitting out the entire 2017-18 season as a transfer, Enoch started in 14 games for the Cards averaging 9.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 53 percent from the field.

Seldom used at UConn under Kevin Ollie, Enoch blossomed under the tutelage of new head coach Chris Mack and big man specialist Mike Pegues. Enoch showed flashes of dominance in several games for the Cards, including the romping of UNC on the road where he put up 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

While foul trouble plagued the 6’10, 260 pound big man for the majority of the season, Enoch showed improvement just about everywhere else in his game. Whether it was showing a nice touch around the basket, cleaning up the boards against quality opponnets, or stepping outside and knocking down three’s at 35 percent clip.

However, Enoch did struggle to protect the rim for Louisville, stay out of foul trouble as mentioned, and often times looked lost defensively especially when hedging out on ball screens and trying to find his man in rotations.

Consistency was able a big issue for the junior big man, who would put together a 17 and 11 performance one night and follow it up with 6 and 3 the next night.

With all of that being said, Enoch is 100 percent making the right decision to use the new rules from the NBA that allow players to test the draft waters by participating in pre-draft workouts and attending the NBA Combine (if invited) before making a final decision on whether to hire an agent and forego eligibility or return back to school.

Enoch has an NBA ready body without a doubt and will graduate from Louisville in May making him a possible candidate to leave school this summer. As I mentioned in my article a few days ago about roster turnover, Enoch has everything that NBA scouts look for in terms of big men projects, including size, strength, shooting touch, and of course coachability. Here’s what I wrote:

"Another thing to consider with Enoch, who will have this degree in May, is the fact that he has potential opportunities ahead of him to play basketball professionally. That may not necessarily be the NBA, but with the goal of college already complete (getting the degree), a professional basketball ready physique, and the ability and experience of playing international basketball, Enoch could potentially decide he’s ready to go pro. While Enoch is not necessarily NBA or even professionally ready to be a star, he is still relatively young enough to be a “project” for a few years while he gets better on the defensive end of the floor. But with the ability to play with his back to the basket like a traditional basketball big as well as face up with ability to shoot from mid-range, and most importantly in this day and age, the ability to shoot from deep. In his one year at Louisville, Enoch shot 52% and 36% from three, which would make him an interesting prospect across multiple leagues."

Chris Mack released a statement through the University regarding Enoch’s decision saying:

"“The NBA and the NCAA continue to shape the undergraduate process of determining draft prospects in a more refined way,” said UofL Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack. “I fully support Steven as he tests the draft waters on where he stands in his basketball future. When the time comes to make his decision it will be with feedback straight from the source, the NBA.”"

While Enoch’s game is not ready to be at the NBA level, his mix of size, athleticism, strength, and touch present a lot of intrigue to NBA General Manager’s who are looking for big men to compete in today’s NBA that thrives on spacing (shooting), rebounding, and running.

Contrary to popular belief, the NBA draft is no longer just about drafted in the first round. Prospects drafted at the top and bottom of the second round are signing guaranteed contracts and undrafted free agents are signing G-League contracts (which are more than you might think) as well as NBA Two-way deals. Not to mention because of his international experience, Enoch could be a big target to team’s overseas who are always looking for talented bigs.

Next. Looking at potential roster turnover for 2019-20. dark

The junior big man will have until May 29 to make a final decision on his future. In my opinion this could go either way. Does hew ant to come back to college for another season and compete with Malik Williams and freshman Aidan Ighieon for minutes, or does the possibility of signing an NBA contract (or G-League) or playing overseas and making money become too much for Enoch to turn down.

This decision could come down right to the wire. Regardless of whether he comes back for one final season, Enoch is making the right move by declaring for the NBA Draft.