Joel Embiid Will Enter The Draft (Update: Embiid Denies)

Perhaps with full knowledge that Bostonians are facing yet another frigid morning, and could use a little bit of good news, Yahoo is reporting that Kansas big, Joel Embiid will be entering the draft this year.

Kansas star Joel Embiid – a possible No. 1 overall choice – has decided to enter the June NBA draft, sources told Yahoo Sports.

Embiid, a 20-year-old, 7-foot freshman, rapidly emerged as one of college basketball's major talents and moved into competition with Jayhawks teammate Andrew Wiggins and Duke's Jabari Parker to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.

A formal announcement on Embiid's decision is expected soon. In the past week, Embiid has progressed in settling on agent representation, but no final decision has been made, sources said.

Embiid's season ended prematurely with a stress fracture in his back, costing him the final two games of the regular season, the Big 12 tournament and Kansas' two games in the NCAA tournament. Until the injury, Kansas was considered a serious national championship contender.

Embiid's offensive development throughout the season has been nothing short of amazing, and his shot blocking and length would fit an immediate need for the Boston Celtics.

Here's his DraftExpress video, so you can walk around the office today like you know everything:

UPDATE: Embiid, on his own twitter account is denying reports that he is entering the draft. As a reminder, Adrian Wojnarowski originally made this report, and he's, you know, good at his job. So it's pretty hard to believe that Wojnarowski would report this without confirmation from an agent.

Additionally, as Dan Feldman of ProBasketball Talk points out, Embiid has good reason to deny the reports; he wants to protect himself

In an effort to aid millionaire coaches at the expense of the athletes the organization feigns to protect, the NCAA has instituted an earlier deadline to withdraw for the draft than the NBA has in place.

Underclassmen must withdraw from the draft before April 16 to remain eligible for the NCAA. But if they never declare in the first place, they can always turn pro before the NBA deadline of April 27 – because if players decide to go pro between April 16 and April 27, they don’t need to preserve their NCAA eligibility anyway.

For someone like Embiid, whose back injury plays a key factor in his draft stock, the buffer period could be essential. In case his injury worsens and he wants to return to Kansas, he’d give himself more leeway by waiting to officially declare.

Embiid might not, and probably won’t stretch the decision all the way to April 27. If he hires an agent, who can guide him through this process and/or front him money, Embiid would no longer be eligible for college basketball.

But until he hires an agent, why officially declare?