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Kessler goes pro


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Is he signing with an agent or just getting an evaluation at this point? He's probably staying in but just curious if there is a chance lol

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19 minutes ago, AUBwins said:

Is he signing with an agent or just getting an evaluation at this point? He's probably staying in but just curious if there is a chance lol

He said signing w an agent and not returning to school. 

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Good luck to the big guy.   But I think the NBA has gotten way too young and wish that it would go back to the ability to sign out of high school, and if you choose college you play 3 years.   Just my opinion 

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58 minutes ago, AUBwins said:

Is he signing with an agent or just getting an evaluation at this point? He's probably staying in but just curious if there is a chance lol

He gone and it’s official. 

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2 minutes ago, aubaseball said:

Good luck to the big guy.   But I think the NBA has gotten way too young and wish that it would go back to the ability to sign out of high school, and if you choose college you play 3 years.   Just my opinion 

I do like the high school and 3 rule in baseball.  

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Sorry, not saying this out of bitterness at all. I just don't think he is NBA Ready.  After watching his performance in our last game, he just lacked aggressiveness and fire when taking the ball to the hole.  I believe he will get pushed around in the pros...  MHO is he should stay one more year and toughen up under the goal on offense... No doubt he is there defensively, but needs work on offense.

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26 minutes ago, ArgoEagle said:

Sorry, not saying this out of bitterness at all. I just don't think he is NBA Ready.  After watching his performance in our last game, he just lacked aggressiveness and fire when taking the ball to the hole.  I believe he will get pushed around in the pros...  MHO is he should stay one more year and toughen up under the goal on offense... No doubt he is there defensively, but needs work on offense.

He was hurt and coach Pearl knew that. He's been hurt since January. Back off of the kid

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4 hours ago, AUBwins said:

Is he signing with an agent or just getting an evaluation at this point? He's probably staying in but just curious if there is a chance lol

Signing with an agent. If the agent is  not NCAA approved he can't return.

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3 hours ago, Dual-Threat Rigby said:

I think he’ll be an end of lottery/right outside of lottery type guy. If that eval holds, just not much value for him to return

Always feels great to produce another first round caliber player!

Most mocks have in the early to mid 20s.

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2 hours ago, ArgoEagle said:

I just don't think he is NBA Ready

Maybe but like Hoke passed on from NBA sources on On3, & Kess probably realizes, his stock ain't going to get any better by waiting a year. He's at his projected NBA Draft ceiling now. The financial smart play is go now. There's not even a remote guarantee his stock will be as high next year. Staying would be a financially sizeable gamble.

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1 hour ago, ellitor said:

Signing with an agent. If the agent is  not NCAA approved he can't return.

Oh I forgot that they have allowed some agents now. But yea I think he will stay in. 

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There’s also apparently some really stud underclassmen/young centers coming out in the next draft. At least Kessler knows how he stacks up vs the guys in this draft. Can’t go higher than Holmgren or Duren, probably won’t go higher than Mark Williams, can reasonably fit in that 4th center off the board spot

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Good move by Kess, an obvious no brainer really. What a tremendous story he has and a really perfect win-win for all involved with him coming to AU. I know a lot of folks don’t like the portal but without it he’s not wearing an orange  tie during this interview. :) 

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5 hours ago, ArgoEagle said:

Sorry, not saying this out of bitterness at all. I just don't think he is NBA Ready.  After watching his performance in our last game, he just lacked aggressiveness and fire when taking the ball to the hole.  I believe he will get pushed around in the pros...  MHO is he should stay one more year and toughen up under the goal on offense... No doubt he is there defensively, but needs work on offense.

I will respectfully say if he is drafted by one of the crappy he can develop right along with the rest of them. If he is on a contender there will be no pressure on him to perform right away. He will be fine

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Get that money kess . Work 3-5 years . Get setup financially for 5 life times . Great year . Next man up 

Edited by ellitor
Keep politics out of the sports forms.
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Auburn All-American Walker Kessler enters NBA Draft

By Tom Green | tgreen@al.com
5-6 minutes

Walker Kessler vs. South Carolina

Auburn forward Walker Kessler (13) elevates for a dunk against South Carolina forward Wildens Leveque, left, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. Auburn won 81-66. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)AP

Walker Kessler made a name as the best defensive weapon in college basketball this season. Now, the Auburn All-American plans to take his game to the next level.

Kessler declared for the NBA Draft on Sunday afternoon, just hours after he was named the Naismith Trophy Defensive Player of the Year in New Orleans. Kessler is the first player from this season’s Auburn team to declare for the draft.

Read more Auburn hoops: What commitment of Yohan Traore means for Auburn in 2022-23

Bruce Pearl eager to “build it back”: A look at Auburn’s potential 2022-23 roster

Revisiting the top moments from Auburn’s historic season

“Coach (Bruce) Pearl recruited me to Auburn University with an idea of being able to accomplish my goals while being close to family,” Kessler said in a statement he posted to social media. “As a team we were able to win the SEC regular-season and achieve a number one ranking for the first time in school history. I want to thank all my family and friends for their consistent love and support that has provided me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams. Auburn University accepted me with open arms and made me feel like I was ‘home.’ Coach Pearl, Coach Steve (Pearl), Coach (Ira) Bowman, Coach (Wes) Flanigan, managers and the entire basketball staff have helped me to grow as a person and as a player. Thank you all!

“I am forever thankful to my teammates, past and present, who I am honored to call brothers. I am excited to announce that I will be entering my name into the 2022 NBA Draft. Auburn University will always be home and I am forever grateful. War Eagle!”

Kessler has until June 1 to withdraw from the NBA Draft pool and return to Auburn, in the event the pre-draft feedback isn’t what he expected. As of Sunday, Kessler has been widely projected to be a mid-to-late pick in the first round, with some outlets believing he could be a late-lottery selection.

Kessler joined Auburn last summer after transferring from North Carolina, and the former five-star big man quickly developed into one of the top two-way weapons in college basketball. He averaged 11.4 points (on 60.8 percent shooting), 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game for the Tigers, who won the SEC regular-season title and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Kessler, who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, made three All-America teams and earned two national Defensive Player of the Year honors, led the nation with 155 blocked shots, which was also an Auburn single-season record. His 4.6 blocks per game were tied for first nationally, while his block rate of 19.1 percent led all Division I players and was the best single-season mark by a player in at least a dozen seasons. Kessler also led the country in defensive box plus/minus (8.0) and ranked third among all qualifying Division I players in defensive rating (83.0).

Kessler’s decision to declare for the draft means Auburn will likely replace both members of its starting frontcourt in 2022. While consensus All-American Jabari Smith has yet to declare for the NBA Draft (and was noncommittal about his future after Auburn’s NCAA Tournament loss to Miami), the freshman phenom is a projected top-three pick and is in the running to go No. 1 overall in this summer’s draft.

Jaylin Williams and Dylan Cardwell are set to return next season from this year’s frontcourt rotation, while the Tigers are also currently set to return reserve Stretch Akingbola. Following Auburn’s season-ending loss to Miami, Pearl expressed excitement about building around Williams, a starter in 2020-21 who took a backseat to Smith this season but excelled in the Tigers’ two NCAA Tournament games. The program also added a commitment Thursday from five-star big man Yohan Traore, a top-15 player in the 2022 class and a former LSU commit. Traore’s long-term projection is as a stretch-four, but he is now expected to slot into the center spot vacated by Kessler and provide an intriguing fit in the frontcourt alongside Williams.

As of Kessler’s draft declaration, Auburn has one more open scholarship for the 2022-23 season -- though that number will double if/when Smith makes the expected jump to the NBA. Should Smith declare, as everyone expects, next season’s roster will include returning scholarship players Williams, Cardwell, Akingbola, Allen Flanigan, K.D. Johnson, Wendell Green Jr., Zep Jasper and Chris Moore, plus 2022 additions Traore, Chance Westry and Tre Donaldson.

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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15 hours ago, ArgoEagle said:

Sorry, not saying this out of bitterness at all. I just don't think he is NBA Ready.  After watching his performance in our last game, he just lacked aggressiveness and fire when taking the ball to the hole.  I believe he will get pushed around in the pros...  MHO is he should stay one more year and toughen up under the goal on offense... No doubt he is there defensively, but needs work on offense.

Totally agree - but people tend to get bent out of shape when you mention it.  

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15 hours ago, ArgoEagle said:

Sorry, not saying this out of bitterness at all. I just don't think he is NBA Ready.  After watching his performance in our last game, he just lacked aggressiveness and fire when taking the ball to the hole.  I believe he will get pushed around in the pros...  MHO is he should stay one more year and toughen up under the goal on offense... No doubt he is there defensively, but needs work on offense.

Why would he not be able to do all those things in the NBA/G League against better competition? Plus, he’s going to get coaching from NBA guys, and mentorship from guys who have been in the league for years. If anybody is on track to get a first round grade, they should take it always. 

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27 minutes ago, zeroforwinger said:

Why would he not be able to do all those things in the NBA/G League against better competition? Plus, he’s going to get coaching from NBA guys, and mentorship from guys who have been in the league for years. If anybody is on track to get a first round grade, they should take it always. 

I would much rather Keesler hone/develop skills dominating at AU rather than G League.  But that's the way it is now, I can accept that. 

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