Mar 22, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida Gators guard Walter Clayton Jr. (1) reacts in the second half against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at Gainbridge FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Guard Walter Clayton Jr. Declares For NBA Draft

Florida Guard Walter Clayton Jr. announced on social media that he will declare for the NBA draft while also maintaining his collegiate eligibility to potentially return to the Gators.

Career Year for Clayton

Clayton Jr. averaged a career-high 17.6 points per game during his junior year at Florida. He led the Gators in points as Florida held a 24-12 record and qualified for the NCAA tournament.  In the first round against Colorado, Clayton put up a career-high 33 points in a heartbreaking 102-100 loss.

His 633 points on the season ranks fifth all-time in single-season Florida Gators basketball history.

Before transferring to the Gators ahead of the 2023-24 season, Clayton played two years at Iona, coming off the bench during his first year before becoming the starting shooting guard in the 2022-23 season. Clayton averaged 16.8 points during his last year at Iona. He was named the 2023 MAAC Player of the Year after his sophomore campaign.

NBA or Back To Florida

Before Clayton’s announcement, there had been debate about whether he would stay at Florida or transfer to another school. His announcement put those talks to rest by assuring that if the NBA doesn’t work out, he will be returning to Florida.

Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report did not project Clayton being selected in the NBA draft, neither did Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Clayton will have an opportunity to workout with NBA teams and get feedback before making his official decision.

If the mock drafts are accurate, Clayton will have to shine in the workouts to potentially secure a late-second round pick or sign an undrafted deal. A two-way contract with the G-League, while not preferred, is also a possibility. Former Florida Gators center Colin Castleton, who went undrafted, currently plays for the South Bay Lakers on a two-way contract.

In any case, Clayton will have until late June to impress NBA GM’s enough to warrant a contract. If not, Clayton will return to the Florida Gators for his final year of collegiate elligibility.

2024 NBA Draft

The 2024 NBA Draft will have 58 draft picks instead of the usual 60 due to the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns losing a second-round draft pick for violating tampering rules. The first round of the draft takes place on June 26th, while the second round will be held on the 27th.

If Walter Clayton Jr. signs an NBA contract as an undrafted player, it will be on or after June 27th.

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