Junior guard Elijah Stewart declared for the NBA Draft without an agent on Tuesday. It was first reported by DraftExpress and confirmed by USC.
He becomes the third USC player to declare without an agent after the Trojans’ surprise run to the Round of 32 in this year’s NCAA Tournament, joining sophomore forward Bennie Boatwright and redshirt sophomore Shaqquan Aaron. Like his teammates, Stewart can withdraw from the Draft before May 24.
Stewart is not projected to be selected according to most experts’ mock drafts, perhaps making a return to USC likely, but he turned heads during March Madness, pouring in 22 points against SMU (six baskets came from behind the arc) and draining the game-winning shot.
Stewart also added 12 points and four three-pointers against Baylor, and he was the Trojans’ leading 3-point scorer throughout the 2016-17 campaign, sinking 78 threes. The total led the team by more than 30, with Boatwright and junior guard Jordan McLaughlin in second with 47 3-pointers each. Stewart was also one of the most efficient Trojan shooters from beyond the arc, trailing only McLaughlin in three-point percentage.
The junior averaged 12.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last season while acting as a veteran presence on a team with just five upperclassmen. Stewart’s 175 career three-pointers is sixth all-time in program history, just one bucket short of tying Harold Miner for fifth. A repeat of last season would catapult him to the top of the list; Lodrick Stewart is currently the all-time leader with 232 made threes from 2004 to 2007.
With a new contract extension and a strong incoming recruiting class, head coach Andy Enfield would surely like to retain Stewart and build on the promising 2016-17 season. The NBA Draft will take place on June 22.