2019 NBA Draft: Gonzaga star Brandon Clarke, a potential lottery pick, enters draft

Gonzaga junior forward Brandon Clarke joined teammate Rui Hachimura and became the second Bulldogs star to enter the 2019 NBA Draft this week when he publicly declared his intentions to immerse himself in the draft process on Wednesday.

Clarke, the WCC Newcomer and Defender of the Year, led the country in blocked shots last season for the 33-win Bulldogs. He also ranked No. 1 in field goal percentage among all NCAA Division I players at 68.7 percent, evidence of his wildly successful and efficient breakout season.

Clarke's breakout as a junior came as a bit of a surprise last season as he entered the year largely off the radar. He spent the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 seasons at San Jose State then transferred to Gonzaga. In 2017-2018, he sat to satisfy NCAA transfer rules and became an instant star in Spokane, Washington, averaging 16.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game last season.

Clarke's meteoric rise has landed him among CBS Sports' first-round projections. In Gary Parrish's latest NBA mock draft, Clarke is drafted inside the lottery. He is ranked No. 15 on the CBS Sports top-75 Big Board.

Due to new NCAA rules, Clarke can declare for the draft, sign with an agent and still return to college for a senior season so long as he withdraws before 11:59 p.m. ET on May 29. He has not definitively said whether he will remain in the draft or potentially return, but coming off a monstrous season, it's likely a first-round grade will be enough to lure him into staying in the draft.

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