Florida basketball: Walter Clayton Jr., Will Richard declare for NBA Draft but may return to Gators

By OnlyGators.com Staff
April 17, 2024
Florida basketball: Walter Clayton Jr., Will Richard declare for NBA Draft but may return to Gators

Image Credit: NCAA

Two of Florida Gators basketball’s top players from the 2023-24 season have decided to try their hands at becoming professionals. Junior guards Walter Clayton Jr. and Will Richard each declared for the 2024 NBA Draft over the last couple of days, though both players made it clear that they will maintain their collegiate eligibility and return only to the Gators if they do not decide to remain in the draft pool.

“I am grateful for being able to come home this past year and be a part of something special being built here in Gainesville,” Clayton shared on social media. “With the support of Coach [Todd] Golden, Coach [Korey] McCray and the rest of the staff, I want to announce I will be entering my name into the 2024 NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility for the option to return to no other than the University of Florida. Thank you to everyone for the support!”

“I’m excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft while maintaining my eligibility,” Richard shared on social media. “In the event that I return to college, I will be returning to no other than the University of Florida. I have every desire to fulfill my dreams of playing in the NBA and will allow for the process, and feedback from NBA teams to make a draft decision. As always, #GoGators!”

Clayton was the straw that stirred the drink for Florida this season, averaging a career-high 17.6 points per game. His shooting, rebounding and assist totals were down from last season, but Clayton was far more consistent on a game-by-game basis. He almost single-handedly willed UF over Colorado in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, posting a career-high 33 points, and Clayton scored 20+ points in nine of his final 15 games.

Listed as the No. 36 prospect available by NBA.com and Bleacher Report, Clayton is projected to either be selected late in the second round or go undrafted. He is not listed among the top 100 prospects across numerous other NBA Draft big boards.

Richard was less consistent, comparatively, but averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 boards per game last season. He showed out alongside Clayton against the Buffaloes, scoring 15 points on 3 of 6 shooting from downtown, but Richard only posted single-digit scoring totals in six of his final 14 games. He is not presently listed as a top-100 prospect by any notable NBA Draft outlet.

The highest likelihood is that Clayton and Richard both return to Florida next season. Clayton has hired an NCAA-credentialed agent, which will allow him to maintain his collegiate eligibility and play a senior season with the Gators should he return. It is not known whether Richard has hired an agent.

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