Michigan State’s Nick Ward to declare for NBA Draft

One day after Michigan State sophomore Miles Bridges announced his decision to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft, another Spartan has agreed to follow suit and at least test the waters.

Fellow classmate Nick Ward has decided to submit his name for the draft. He will, however, not hire an agent.

Ward in 70 games for Michigan State through his first two seasons has averaged just over 13 points and just under seven rebounds per game, averaging less than 20 minutes of action per contest. Offensively his efficiency at the collegiate level is through the roof. On a per 40 minute basis, Ward is averaging over 27 PPG.

At the same token, Ward’s diminished minutes per game largely came down to deficiencies on defense and/or ending up in foul trouble. In fact, he played 20+ minutes just once over the Spartans’ final 11 games this season.

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MSU head coach Tom Izzo shared his thoughts on Ward’s decision:

“I fully support Nick’s decision to take the opportunity to explore his draft stock,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in a statement. “He has continued to improve and worked very hard over the last two years to put himself in this position.  The process will allow him to receive direct feedback and an assessment as to where he stands in his dream to play at the highest level.”

Unlike Bridges and Jaren Jackson Jr., another young player for Michigan State widely expected to declare for the NBA Draft, Ward is not as highly-regarded as a pro prospect. Jonathan Givony from DraftExpress raved Ward for his efficiency but questioned if he has staying power in the NBA.

Ward’s decision to not hire an agent is important. The NBA allows for college players to submit their names for the upcoming draft, giving them the opportunity to go through all sorts of pre-draft workouts and receive input from scouts. Players like Ward, who do not sign with an agency and have college eligibility remaining, have until May 30 to withdraw their name from draft consideration and return to school.

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Should Ward stay committed to the NBA route, the presumptive favorite to assume his spot on the floor would be freshman Xavier Tillman. The Grand Rapids Catholic Central product averaged just under nine MPG in all 35 games for Michigan State this season, but that number soared to 15.4 over the team’s final five games.

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