BYU big man Yoeli Childs announced at the end of March that he would enter his name in the NBA Draft and hire an agent. In previous years, his hiring an agent would mean that his college eligibility is done. Under new NCAA rules, however, college players that declare for the NBA Draft have until May 29 to decide if they want to return to school — whether they have an agent or not.
BYU assistant coach Chris Burgess was on Doug Gottlieb’s “All Ball” podcast for over an hour and talked about his playing and coaching career. Towards the end of the podcast, Gottlieb asked Burgess if there’s any chance of Childs coming back. Here’s how Burgess responded:
“I don’t know... Coach Pope has been working really hard to try to educate him (Childs) as best he can about the whole process.. Coach (Pope) was a late second round pick in the NBA Draft and somehow fought and clawed his way into contract after contract year by year. So, what better coach to talk to in terms of how he made it in the NBA?”
Many assume that Childs is gone definitively — and, to be honest, that is probably still the most likely scenario. With the recent news that Childs did not receive an NBA Draft combine invite, however, his chances to get drafted went from slim to almost non-existent. Childs’ wife graduated from UVU and he may elect to try the G-League or play in Europe, which is a totally understandable decision.
However, Pope has a compelling case for Childs to return. BYU will have a better team next year with the addition of WAC player of the year Jake Toolson and all the other main contributors back for another year. Adding Childs to the mix would give BYU the type of team that could finally end the NCAA tournament drought.
BYU plays in the Maui invitational, which will give Childs a chance to prove himself against some of the top teams in the country. The 2020 draft class appears to be weaker, so another big year from Yoeli could rise him up draft boards and give him a chance to be drafted late in the second round. Lastly, Gonzaga is losing four starters from last year’s team, meaning BYU could make the WCC race interesting with Childs in the mix.
As Burgess said, Pope knows exactly what it takes to get drafted in the NBA and grind for years to stick around. With 19 days until the deadline for Childs to make up his mind, you can bet that Pope is doing everything he can to convince Childs to return to BYU for his senior year. Cross your fingers. Pope’s recruiting skills already have us thinking that anything is possible.
You can listen to Gottlieb’s entire interview with Burgess here. Gottlieb asks Burgess about Yoeli at the 1:33:20 mark.