Nebraska junior guard James Palmer Jr. announced via Instagram on Tuesday that he will be entering his name in the 2018 NBA Draft and junior forward Isaac Copeland will join him according to a university release.
Palmer and Coepalnd are not planning to hire an agent at this point, preserving their college eligibility and opening the door for a return to Nebraska next season.
Palmer was named an All-Big Ten first-teamer by the league’s coaches and a second-teamer by the media after he led the Huskers to a fourth-place finish in the Big Ten while averaging 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 swingman transferred to Nebraska after spending two seasons at Miami where he averaged 3.6 points. Palmer sat out last season according to NCAA transfer rules before breaking out for the Huskers this year.
Copeland, 6-foot-9 forward who transferred to Nebraska from Georgetown, was an All-Big Ten honorable-mention selection after averaging 12.8 points and 6.9 rebounds. Copeland averaged 6.8 points as a freshman and 11.1 as a sophomore for the Hoyas but suffered a back injury and only played seven games during his third season before shutting it down and ultimately transferring to Nebraska.
“I’m excited for James and Isaac to go through this process,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “It will be great for them to test themselves against some of the best basketball players in the world. They are going into this process with the right mindset, and I think the next few months will be a positive experience for them.”
Testing the waters without an agent allows them to participate in pre-draft workouts, get feedback from NBA evaluators and attend the NBA Combine should they receive an invitation.
The 2018 NBA Draft Combine begins on May 16 and runs through May 20. Underclassmen who have declared for the draft have until May 30 to withdraw their names or else they will forfeit any remaining college availability. The draft will take place on June 21.
Ohio State junior and 2018 Big Ten Player of the year Keita Bates-Diop has declared for the draft and will hire an agent while Iowa sophomore forward Tyler Cook has also declared without an agent.
In 2016, Andrew White III went through the draft process after his junior year at Nebraska before withdrawing his name on the final day, although he later graduate transferred to Syracuse rather than returning to Nebraska. Terran Petteway also tested the waters in 2014 before returning to Nebraska.
Jacob Padilla has been writing for Hail Varsity since 2015. He covers football, volleyball men’s basketball and prep sports. He also co-hosts the Nebraska Preps Postgame and Nebraska Shootaround podcasts for the Hurrdat Media and Hail Varsity podcast networks. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.