Will Richard withdraws from 2024 NBA Draft, will return to Florida Gators for senior season

By OnlyGators.com Staff
May 25, 2024
Will Richard withdraws from 2024 NBA Draft, will return to Florida Gators for senior season

Image Credit: UAA

Two of Florida Gators basketball’s top players from the 2023-24 season, who had collegiate eligibility still remaining, decided to try their hands at becoming professionals last month. One of them has already decided to return to the program for his senior season.

Junior guard Will Richard decided that he will play for the Gators next season despite previously declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft. He made the announcement with a simple two-word social media graphic: “I’m back.”

Richard averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 boards per game last season. He showed out against Colorado in the 2024 NCAA Tournament — scoring 15 points on 3 of 6 shooting from downtown — but only posted single-digit scoring totals in six of the season’s final 14 games. (Richard was not listed as a top-100 prospect by any notable NBA Draft outlet.)

Upon declaring for the draft, Richard made clear that he would only play at Florida if he decided to return to college. The same statement was made by junior G Walter Clayton Jr., who has yet to confirm whether he will stay in the draft or play a final season of college basketball in the orange and blue.

“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 last month. “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.”

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

Listed upon his declaration 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.

It is expected that Clayton will ultimately join Richard in returning to the Gators.

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