by Nate Allen
FAYETTEVILLE –Au’Diese Toney, the graduate transfer via the University of Pittsburgh who spent the season starring as a defensive stalwart, helping the Arkansas Razorbacks reach the NCAA Elite Eight, announced intentions Tuesday to declare for the NBA draft.
Toney didn’t specify if he would explore the draft without hiring an agent, giving him an option to return to Arkansas as sophomore center Jaylin Williams is doing, or definitely turn pro, which senior guard JD Notae said he is doing.
Toney and Notae have the options of returning to Arkansas as bonus seniors because the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility for those involved in the covid disrupted 2020-2021 season.
Judging by the tone of his post on Twitter, Toney, especially praised for holding New Mexico State guard Teddy Allen in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to 12 points, after Allen scored 37 in the first round, upsetting Connecticut, Toney intends not to turn back.
“With the support of my family and friends I have made the decision to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA and declare for the NBA draft,” Toney posted on Twitter. “Growing up as a young athlete in the 256 (the area code of his native Huntsville, Ala.), it was always my dream to play the game of basketball on the biggest stage. I want to thank all the fans of Razorback Nation for welcoming me with open arms this season.”
As expected, Arkansas Razorbacks sophomore center Williams is exercising his option to explore entering the NBA draft but without hiring an agent, which would ensure him returning to Coach Eric Musselman’s 2022-2023 Razorbacks if he chose to do so.
“I am announcing my intention to enter the 2022 NBA Draft process,” Williams said in a statement through UA Communications. “However, I will not be hiring an agent to keep my eligibility with the University of Arkansas intact. I look forward to learning from the upcoming process, going through the interviews, gathering feedback and building relationships with NBA coaches and front office personnel.
My gratitude to Coach Musselman and the staff goes beyond words for helping me be in this position. I will keep all my options open and, after going through the process and talking with my family, my support group and the Arkansas coaching staff, I will make an informed decision when the appropriate time comes.”
Williams has until June 1 to decide whether to declare for the draft or withdraw from draft consideration.
The 6-10 two-year letterman from Fort Smith Northside has helped Arkansas ascend to consecutive NCAA Tournament Elite Eight appearances.
He came off the bench until starting the last five games of his freshman year and started all 37 games for this past season’s 28-9 Hogs averaging 10.9 points and a team-leading 9.8 rebound and leading the team by far in taking charges.
All-American senior guard JD Notae said he would hire an agent definitely turning pro.
Junior-to-be reserve guard Khalen “KK” Robinson and sophomore-to-be reserve guard Chance Moore have both submitted their names to the transfer portal
And sophomore-to-be forward Trevan Brazile has announced through the transfer portal that he has transferred from the University of Missouri to sign with Arkansas.