Sagaba Konate’s Return To Mountaineers Confirmed By WVU
And now it’s official. West Virginia University releases a statement on Sagaba Konate’s return.
“I am glad that I was able to gain feedback and to get experience from being invited to the NBA Draft Combine,” Konate said. “It was a great experience, and I’m ready to get back to work with my teammates at West Virginia.”
A native of Bamako, Mali, Konate averaged 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in 2017-18. He finished the season second nationally in blocked shots with 116. Konate was named to the All-Big 12 Conference Third Team and to the All-Big 12 Defensive Team.
“We are pleased that Sags will be back in a Mountaineer uniform,” coach Bob Huggins said. “As with Esa (Ahmad), JC (Jevon Carter) and others in past, Sags went through the process in a systematic and professional manner. The experience and feedback from the NBA Draft Combine will help him in the future.”
ESPN, among other sources, is reporting West Virginia center Sagaba Konate will withdraw from the 2018 NBA Draft and return to WVU for his junior season with the Mountaineer basketball team. Konate participated in the NBA Combine in Chicago last week, but will return to West Virginia to improve his draft stock. Most sources had him as either a low second round or free agent prospect this year.
WVU has not yet made an official announcement concerning Konate, who averaged 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds as a sophomore in 2017-18. He also recorded 116 blocked shots, the second highest single-season total in West Virginia history behind D’or Fischer’s 124 in the 2003-04 season. He stands 21 behind Fischer’s 190 career rejections, a number that he will surpass early in his junior season.
Konate’s decision to return to college for his junior year comes after reports from many pro basketball observers that his performance at the recent NBA Combine didn’t justify a first-round draft pick.
“He was really mediocre in the scrimmages,” said Chris Stone of Konate. Stone covers the NBA draft and college basketball for The Sporting News and several other media outlets. “You saw the energy and rim protection he displayed at West Virginia, but in terms of the offense, there are still questions as to where he fits in at the NBA level. He tries to play a little beyond his skill set. He puts up too many mid-range jumpers and tries to do too much with the ball in the post. He needs to develop as a roller to the basket and a finisher, rather than someone he tries to be an offensive hub.”
Stone added that Konate, who measured 6-foot-7.5 at the Combine, may not have even been a second-round pick in this year’s draft, though he could improve his stock with another year of improvement at the college level.
“He’s someone who could leave now and potentially be drafted,” concluded Stone of Konate. “Or he could go back to school, try to improve his offensive game and see if he’s a first-rounder next year.”
College players who have declared for the NBA draft but have not yet hired an agent, which Konate has not done, have until May 30 to removed their name from the draft pool.
If Konate does return to WVU, it will put the Mountaineers one scholarship over the maximum allowable 13 for the coming season.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) May 24, 2018
West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate told ESPN he will withdraw from the NBA draft and return to school next season. But news for the Mountaineers.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) May 24, 2018