Canadian high school rookie Leonard Miller is withdrawing from the NBA draft and will sign with the NBA’s G League Ignite program, he told ESPN.
The NBA draft withdrawal deadline is Monday at 5 p.m. ET, and applies primarily to international players since the NCAA withdrawal deadline for those intending to maintain college eligibility was June 1.
“My decision to withdraw from this year’s draft is based on what’s best for my long-term development,” Miller said. “With another year of development on and off the pitch, I will put myself in an even better position for the 2023 draft. Going through the pre-draft process, I learned what it takes to be a professional performer. Whether it’s daily work on the pitch, off-pitch work, diet or recovery, I’ve gained a much better understanding of the habits needed to reach the top of this field.”
Miller, the No. 43 ESPN 100 prospect, opted to enter the NBA draft after a strong performance at the Nike Hoop Summit in April, when he established himself as the league’s top long-term prospect. international team in one week of training. in front of a crowd of NBA decision makers in Portland, Oregon. He was 6-foot-10 with a 7-2 wingspan in the NBA draft in Chicago last month.
Miller, who won’t turn 19 until the end of November, was the youngest prospect in the class, 35 days away from being ineligible until the 2023 draft. He said he believed the comments he had gathered from private training and interviews at the combine would help him take the next step in his development next season with the G League Ignite.
“I was incredibly lucky to have several great options,” Miller said. “For me, the final decision was based on what I felt was the environment to put myself in the best possible position to achieve my ultimate goal of playing and excelling in the NBA. The feedback I received was primarily based on continuing to develop my shooting and ball handling. I am also looking forward to developing my body from a strength, conditioning and agility perspective. Playing against professionals and training with professionals every day will also help me keep up with the pace and energy of the NBA, which I know is important to me as well.”
Miller’s late-blooming trajectory — he was 6-foot-5 two years ago before returning to Canada to play prep school basketball at the Fort Erie International Academy and becoming a five-star caliber rookie — him gives lottery-level potential next year with the physical tools and goalscoring instinct he exhibits. He makes difficult shots from all over the floor; sniffs easy baskets in transition, off the ball and crushes offensive glass; and has intriguing defensive versatility with his length and instincts as his frame fills out and he gains top-level experience.
Averaging over 30 points per game and winning the OSBA Championship, he was heavily chased by programs that included Kentucky and Arizona before choosing to pursue the pro route.
Miller joins Scoot Henderson, the slated No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, on the G League Ignite roster. The NBA development program has several additional signings to make this summer, most of which are expected to come on the international front with the stiff competition it faces domestically from college basketball teams Overtime Elite and NILE.
“My versatility will allow me to impact the game in any way that the Ignite coaching staff believe maximizes our chances of winning, as well as it maximizes my development,” Miller said. “I look forward to being a sponge and applying their expertise to take my game to the next level.”
Ignite currently has four players who are expected to be selected in the NBA Draft on June 23: Australian Dyson Daniels and Americans Jaden Hardy, MarJon Beauchamp and Michael Foster.
Miller is one of several international players who will drop out of the 2022 NBA Draft before Monday’s deadline, joining potential second-round picks Karlo Matkovic and Zvonimir Ivisic of Croatia and Montenegro, respectively. Internationals Ousmane Dieng, Nikola Jovic, Ismael Kamagate, Hugo Besson, Gabriele Procida, Ziga Samar and Gui Santos will all retain their names in the draft after the deadline, sources have told ESPN.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private drafting and analysis service used by the NBA, NCAA and international teams.