North Carolina junior J.P. Tokoto plans to forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft, he told Yahoo! Sports NBA reporter Adrian Wojarnowski.
Tokoto told Yahoo! Sports that he will not sign with an agent, which will give him the option of withdrawing from the draft and returning to school. Even so, he made clear that his plan – despite his knowledge that he’s not projected as a first-round draft pick – is to play in the NBA next season.
“I feel like there can be a lot more to me as a player, more than just the defensive player who can occasionally dunk the ball,” Tokoto told Yahoo Sports. “I know I can be so much more, but I’m not sure that I’m pushed to be that much more (in college).”
Tokoto, a 6-foot-6 wing forward, has been known as one of the most athletic players in college basketball, and known, too, for his dunking ability. He also often defended the most challenging perimeter players UNC faced, and he usually defended them well. Tokoto was a member of the ACC’s all-defensive team.
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Tokoto averaged 8.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He was second on the team in steals (56) but led UNC with 85 turnovers. Tokoto sometimes made spectacular passes to set up teammates, but his tendency to force passes into tight spaces – or to throw passes away, over the heads of his teammates – frustrated coach Roy Williams.
Tokoto told Yahoo! Sports that he knows he’s not projected as a first-round pick. The website DraftExpress.com didn’t include him in its 2015 NBA mock draft, but it has him as the 25th overall selection in the 2016 draft.
“Going in, I know I’m not a first-round pick,” Tokoto told Yahoo! Sports. “I know my jumper needs work, and I’m putting in that work now – and will keep doing it.”
Tokoto told Yahoo! Sports that he believed he was better off spending the summer working on his game with trainers and pro coaches.
“I think that’ll give me the best chance to grow than staying school and being that player that fit into the mold of my first three years (at UNC),” he told Yahoo! Sports.