JT Thor to test NBA Draft waters

AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn freshman forward JT Thor plans to submit his name for the 2021 NBA Draft and go through the NBA’s evaluation process, he announced Tuesday.

“First and foremost, I’d like to thank Coach Pearl and the entire coaching staff here at Auburn for accepting me with open arms both on and off the court,” Thor said. “Being here has taught me to value hard work and doing things the right way, the Auburn way. I’d also like to thank my teammates for an amazing season. We had our ups and downs, but through it all, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“With that being said, I would like to announce that I will be entering the 2021 NBA Draft with the option to return to school. Playing in the NBA has always been my dream and I feel that my time is now. My dream has never been so close, and I look forward to this next chapter with confidence and determination.”

Thor can sign with an NCAA-certified agent, receive feedback and still return to school.

“JT has a great future ahead of him,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said. “He’s a hard worker, he’s got great versatility and he showed the potential he has on both ends of the floor this past season. We’re going to support him as he goes through this process and receives valuable feedback. We’re going to work really hard to see that he gets the best opportunity, whether that is keeping his name in the draft or coming back to Auburn.”

There is no current deadline for Thor to make a final decision as to whether to remain in the draft or return to Auburn. Due to restructured NBA and NCAA schedules from the COVID-19 pandemic, dates for the 2021 NBA Draft, NBA Combine and NCAA eligibility deadlines have not been set yet.

Thor started all 27 games during the 2020-21 season and averaged 9.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 23.0 minutes per contest.

The Anchorage, Alaska native shot 44 percent from the floor, including 30 percent from downtown, and shot 74 percent from the free throw line.

Thor scored in double figures 15 times during his freshman season, including 11 of his last 16 games, and pulled down at least five rebounds 16 times, including seven straight to close out the year.

On Feb. 13 at Kentucky, Thor became the only freshman in the last decade to post a stat line of 24 points and nine rebounds inside Rupp Arena. He is one of just four players overall to do that since at least 2010.

Thor, who was a five-star in the 2021 class before reclassifying to join Auburn prior to the 2020-21 season, was one of five freshmen in the country with at least 250 points, 100 rebounds and 30 blocks on the year.