Iowa junior Peter Jok, a second-team all-Big Ten Conference guard, plans to take advantage of a new NCAA rule that allows underclassmen to explore the NBA without jeopardizing college eligibility.
Jok averaged 16.1 points per game for the Hawkeyes, whose 22-11 season ended Sunday with a second-round NCAA Tournament loss to Villanova.
“The rules regarding exploring NBA opportunities are different than they have ever been,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “Peter wants to take advantage of those opportunities, and we fully support him.”
The new rule, finalized this past January, allows a player to enter the NBA Draft multiple times as long as he doesn't hire an agent, and it permits him to take part in the mid-May NBA Combine and up to one tryout with an NBA team per year. The player has up to 10 days after the combine to withdraw his name from the draft.
In the case of the 6-foot-6, 205-pound Jok and certainly dozens of other pro hopefuls, it’s a no-risk proposition to get a better idea of where they stand in the eyes of scouts and franchises.
Last year, 62 players were invited to the NBA Combine. Even if Jok were to get invited, he'd have to perform very well to move way up mock draft boards (that currently don't include his name) to make it worthwhile to jump early to the NBA. Only first-round picks (top 30) are guaranteed money.
Approached about the NBA possibility after Sunday’s game, Jok said he would wait to talk to his coaches before making a decision. He’s at least gotten enough feedback to move forward into the exploratory phase.
Jok had a breakthrough junior season, one that saw his conditioning and defense improve. His minutes per game rose from 19.9 as a sophomore to 27.7, and his scoring average more than doubled from 7.0. Jok also recorded 40 steals, up from 19 last season. The streaky shooter scored 26 or more points five times, and his 80 3-pointers was the second-most in school history by a junior to Jeff Horner’s 86.