COLUMBIA — There has been no formal declaration as to whether South Carolina’s A.J. Lawson will remain in the NBA Draft or return for his sophomore year.
But Wednesday’s news seems to point toward the latter.
Lawson declined an invitation to the NBA’s G-League Elite Camp and will focus on individual workouts for NBA teams, a USC spokesperson confirmed. That means that Lawson had a chance to advance to the NBA Combine and didn’t take it.
The NBA Combine usually invites 60-70 players to its five-day event in Chicago. The G-League Camp is a new initiative, which takes the Top 40 not on the Combine’s list and also brings them to Chicago.
Those players work out from May 12-14 and the Top 20 there move on to the NBA Combine. From there, players can get a reasonable idea if they stand to be drafted.
It’s not impossible to be one of the NBA’s 60 draft picks if not invited to the Combine. Yet over 230 players are testing the NBA Draft process, with less than half of them invited to work out at the G-League or Combine featuring representatives of all 30 teams.
A Combine invite is a good indicator of a player’s NBA worth. Lawson could have worked his way into an invite based on a strong G-League camp, but declined.
He has not hired an agent (despite the rules allowing him to while retaining his eligibility) and has until May 29 to officially make his decision. Lawson would be USC’s leading returning scorer at 13.4 points per game and would lead an explosive group of guards.
The Gamecocks’ Chris Silva was also invited to the G-League camp. He worked out for the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.