Bob Holt is a sports reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of the University of Missouri, he sits on the board of directors for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and a voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 basketball poll. He has been awarded Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year four times and has been inducted to the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame.
After best 3 years, Notae off to begin pro career
Arkansas guard JD Notae dunks on Thursday, March 24, 2021 during the first half of the Sweet 16 round of the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Men's Basketball Championship at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. Check out nwaonline.com/220325Daily/ and nwadg.com/photos for the photo gallery.
FAYETTEVILLE — University of Arkansas All-American guard JD Notae will have to settle for scoring 1,999 points in his college career.
Notae announced Sunday on his Instagram account he is entering his name into the 2022 NBA Draft and will sign with an agent.
Notae could have played another season in college because of the additional year of eligibility granted by the NCAA in response to the coronavirus pandemic ending the 2019-20 season prematurely.
But Notae, who is 23 and will turn 24 on Oct. 27, decided to pass on a sixth college season in favor of beginning his professional career.
NBADraft.net rates Notae as the No. 47 draft prospect and No. 49 on its big board. This year’s draft, which will be held on June 23 at the Barclays Center, where the Brooklyn Nets play, has two rounds with 60 total picks.
Notae, who played two seasons at Jacksonville (Fla.) University then transferred and redshirted at Arkansas and played two seasons, thanked God, the Razorbacks’ coaching staff, his teammates and the fans in his Instagram post.
“The past three years at Arkansas have been the best of my life,” Notae said. “I wouldn’t trade the memories I’ve made for anything, and Fayetteville will always hold a special place in my heart.”
The 6-2 Notae, who is from Covington, Ga., added it has been his dream to play pro basketball.
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Notae averaged 18.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.3 steals and 33.2 minutes this season when he was named a third-team all-American by The Associated Press and The Sporting News and voted a first-team All-SEC player by the coaches and media.
Last season Notae was voted the SEC sixth man of the year by the conference coaches when he averaged 12.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 22.5 minutes off the bench.
Notae scored 14 points in his final college game against Duke — which beat Arkansas 78-69 in the NCAA Tournament West Region final — to finish one point shy of 2,000. He scored 1,070 points at Arkansas and 929 at Jacksonville.
“JD has had an incredible two seasons,” Razorbacks Coach Eric Musselman said after the Duke game. “His growth in his game has been remarkable on both sides of the basketball.
“He and I are connected … I don’t have to say words sometimes to him. He kind of reads my mind, but he has had two really phenomenal years, and he had a phenomenal sit-out year too.
“He has a personality where everybody on the team likes him, and when you have a leading scorer and everybody likes you, it talks about his personality and how connected he is to the guys.”
Arkansas sophomore forward Jaylin Williams said after the Duke game that Notae was a great teammate and leader on and off the court.
“He does so much for this team,” Williams said. “He creates for himself, creates for everybody else, he defends. He does everything. He keeps everybody connected. It’s just been great playing with him.”
Notae’s decision to turn pro leaves Arkansas with 13 scholarship players on its roster for next season — the NCAA limit — for next season.
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But more change is likely.
The current roster includes guard Au’Diese Toney, a senior starter who has an extra season of eligibility remaining.
Williams, a first-team All-SEC pick who averaged 10.9 points and 9.8 rebounds and drew 54 charges, has worked his way into draft consideration. He could declare for the draft and go through the scouting combine — if he’s among the 60 players invited — and retain his eligibility if he decided to return to Arkansas for his junior season.
Deadline for early draft entries is April 24. The withdrawal deadline is June 13. The scouting combine is May 16-22 in Chicago.
Other returnees on the Arkansas roster are sophomore guards Davonte Davis and Jaxson Robinson and junior forwards Kamani Johnson and Connor Vanover.
Robinson and Vanover played in 16 and 15 games, respectively, and averaged 4.8 and 7.7 minutes and could be transfer candidates.
Guards KK Robinson and Chance Moore already have entered the portal.
The Razorbacks are adding at least seven newcomers with six freshmen and Missouri transfer forward Trevon Brazile.
Arkansas’ freshman signees include five top 100 players, led by McDonald’s All-Americans Nick Smith and Jordan Walsh along with Barry Dunning, Derrian Ford and Joseph Pinion.
Anthony Black, also a McDonald’s All-American, has committed to sign with Arkansas in the spring period.
This is the first time Arkansas will have three McDonald’s All-Americans in the same recruiting class.
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