Joel Embiid didn't start playing organized basketball until the summer before his junior year of high school. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Kansas center Joel Embiid will reportedly declare for this year's NBA draft, according to a report Thursday morning from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
As recently as this past weekend, the 7-footer had not made up his mind as to whether to stay or return for his sophomore season, according to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.
The 20-year-old Jayhawks big man, who didn't start playing organized basketball until the summer before his junior year of high school, is still sorting through agent representation but a formal announcement is expected soon about his decision to go pro. He is projected to go in the top three picks in the June draft, and could go as high as No. 1. Fellow Kansas teammate Andrew Wiggins and Duke star Jabari Parker are also considered potential No. 1 picks this year.
Part of Embiid's stock in the draft will depend on how his back heals over the next few months before he is picked June 26. Because of the injury, he had missed Kansas' final six games, including its season-ending loss to Stanford in the NCAA tournament.
The Cameroon native averaged 11.2 points on 63 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 23.1 minutes per game this season for the Jayhawks. While his injury will certainly weigh into the decision of NBA general managers and league officials as they consider his prospects at the next level, his obvious comparisons at times to Hall of Fame NBA center Hakeem Olajuwon gives the big man a tremendous ceiling.