SPRINGFIELD — Missouri State forward Tulio Da Silva announced Friday he will declare for the NBA Draft, however he will maintain his college eligibility by not hiring an agent.
“I would like to thank God for allowing me to play basketball,” said Da Silva. ”After spending some time talking to my family and Coach Ford, I would like to announce I am declaring for The 2019 NBA Draft. While being evaluated during this process and pursuing my future NBA dreams, I will maintain my NCAA eligibility. Thank you for joining me on this journey!”
Although Da Silva, the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year, is not currently projected to be drafted in June, there are benefits to declaring for the draft with no risk to the player’s college eligibility. He can work out with pro squads through the end of April and attend the NBA Draft Combine in May.
The NBA’s new draft rules, which began in 2016, allow for a player to test the draft waters by getting evaluated. This process can help a player’s long-term professional viability, evidenced most recently by Alize Johnson who took the same route in the spring of 2017 before his senior season. Johnson parlayed his opportunity into being drafted by the Indiana Pacers in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft the following year.
MSU head coach Dana Ford noted his excitement for Da Silva to go through the process.
“In order to gain feedback from NBA personnel, players are required to submit the necessary paperwork to request an evaluation,” Ford said. “Tulio plans to go through this process to better evaluate his future and make it possible for him to return for his senior season.”
Da Silva earned All-MVC first-team and NABC All-District distinction in his first year at Missouri State. He was also on the MVC All-Newcomer Team after finishing fourth in the MVC Larry Bird Player of the Year Award voting.
He led the Bears this season with 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game while converting 55.4 percent of his field goal attempts. He led the Bears in scoring 10 times in 2018-19 and in rebounding 18 times. He also scored in double figures in 22 of 27 games.
Da Silva was a two-time MVC Player of the Week (Jan. 14 and Feb. 18) and also won MVC Newcomer of the Week distinction the same two weeks.
April 21 is the deadline to declare for the draft as an early entrant. Players are allowed to return to school if they pull out of the draft pool by May 29. The 2019 NBA Draft is June 20 in Brooklyn.
Ford’s Bears finished the 2018-19 season with a 16-16 overall record and tied for third in the MVC with a 10-8 conference record. Missouri State returns two all-conference starters in Da Silva and Keandre Cook, in addition to four other lettermen, for next season.