Nijel Pack, sophomore guard for Kansas State men’s basketball, declared for the 2022 NBA Draft in an Instagram post Tuesday evening.
Within the post, Pack said, “At present, I would like to further explore new possibilities. It is with unwavering faith and joy that I am entering my name in the 2022 NBA draft.” Pack added that “[his] number one goal is growth.”
Pack reiterated this after newly-hired head coach Jerome Tang’s press conference on Thursday, explaining how he spoke with his parents about the decision and ultimately decided no matter the outcome, it would be an opportunity to grow.
“I feel like there’s no loss here – either way, I can get better. Either way, I can learn,” Pack said. “So I think this is a great opportunity for me.”
Important note: college basketball players are now allowed to declare for the draft, and can return to school if they pull their name from the draft pool before the selection. Doing this allows college athletes to speak to NBA scouts to work on what they need to improve on before pursuing the next level.
Like many college coaches, Tang said he understands that athletes’ goals are to get to the professional level, and believes that student-athletes should take advantage of their opportunities.
“..in the sport we play of basketball, all these guys, they want to play professionally and get to the NBA. That’s the dream, right?” Tang said. “I believe that student-athletes should be able to take advantage of the opportunity to make money off of their name, their image, their likeness.”
Pack’s NBA timeline consists of personal workouts starting in April with a trainer in preparation for NBA workouts that will begin in May.
“I got a little bit of time, just getting ready right now for those times when the opportunity comes to be my best,” Pack said.
Tang wants his athletes to take advantage of the opportunities they are given like joining the draft but wants the players’ focus to continue to be on the sport at play.
“The focus has got to be on the basketball and on being the best player and winning the most games as you can as a team, because 80 percent of young men who were drafted, they get drafted because they played in the NCAA Tournament,” Tang said.
Tang also talked about name, image and likeness deals for college athletes.
“So an NBA contract, if you’re a first-round draft pick could be anywhere from $23 million to $9 million,” Tang said. “The best NIL deal last year — and this isn’t football — is maybe $1.5 million. That’s like pennies to dollars. Instead of chasing the pennies, we’re going to be in the gym so we can chase the dollars.”
Pack has until June 1 to remove his name from consideration before the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23. This past year saw 209 players declare for the draft, but only 60 players were drafted, as players use the new rules to their advantage.