Jarrett Culver Declares for 2019 NBA Draft, Forgoes Last 2 Seasons at Texas Tech

Jarrett Culver Declares for 2019 NBA Draft, Forgoes Last 2 Seasons at Texas Tech
Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver (23) during an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Few players in college basketball have demonstrated a level of individual improvement on par with Texas Tech Red Raiders sophomore guard Jarrett Culver, and he is officially headed to the NBA.

Culver declared for the 2019 draft Thursday with a video message on Twitter:

The 6’6″ playmaker helped the Red Raiders reach the Elite Eight during his freshman campaign when he averaged 11.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game behind 38.2 percent shooting from three-point range.

It was Texas Tech’s deepest NCAA men’s tournament run in program history until he made a leap in his second year as more of a primary playmaker and led the team to an appearance in the national championship game.

Culver averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 dimes per night behind 46.1 percent shooting from the field during the 2018-19 campaign.

He thrived at times during the Big Dance as well, pouring in 29 points in the first-round win over Northern Kentucky, notching a double-double in the second-round victory over Buffalo and posting 22 points in the Sweet 16 against Michigan.

Attention now turns to how he projects in the NBA, and his combination of length and athleticism stands out. He is quick enough to stay in front of speedy ball-handlers on the perimeter defensively, but he can also bother jump shooters with his length and contribute on the boards.

Culver can also move into passing lanes and has enough versatility to defend different positions.

Offensively, he took a noticeable jump as a pure creator with the ball in his hands from his freshman to sophomore year. He can work in pick-and-rolls and either shoot when defenders go underneath the screen, attack the basket and finish through contact with his body control, or facilitate when the defense collapses on him.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report projected Culver as the No. 7 overall pick in his most recent mock draft. 

Culver’s versatility translates to the NBA, where coaches often turn to small-ball lineups late in games and need players who can slot into various positions.

He could be one of the first players taken in the draft as a result.

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