PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The BYU basketball team got some great news late Tuesday night when star center Yoeli Childs announced he is returning to school for his junior season.
Childs put his name in the draft in late March, but did not sign with an agent, so he had until May 20th to withdraw.
“These last two years I’ve spent at BYU have been incredible, Childs wrote on Twitter. “The culture here is special and BYU has the best fans in the country. From teammates to coaches to fans it really feels like a big family. After several weeks of prayer, talking with my family, those close to me, and NBA teams I feel the best decision for my future and my family is to return to BYU for my junior year! Go Cougs!!”
As a sophomore, Childs averaged 17.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game and earned first team All-West Coast Conference honors.
This is great news for the Cougars, who lost leading scorer Elijah Bryant to the NBA Draft. Bryant, who isn’t expected to get drafted, left school after his junior season and did sign with an agent, making him ineligible to return to school.
Childs worked out for three NBA teams, Boston, Brooklyn and Oklahoma City, and they said Childs probably would not get drafted.
Yoeli Childs worked out for three NBA teams, Boston, Oklahoma City and Brooklyn, and all three told him he probably wasn’t going to get drafted.
“Some of the feedback from the teams was go back to school and work on these things,” Childs said. “As one of the star players on your team, you have the opportunity to talk to the coaches about what you want and what you need.”
While Childs admits there are things he needs to work like his shot and his footwork, he’s almost ready.
“I’m very confident in myself,” he said. “In the workouts, it wasn’t like I was going up against guys that I was like, ‘whoa, this guy is so good.’ I think especially physically and athletically, I’m already there. You can think you’re the best player in the world, but if you’re not going to get drafted, then you can’t just leave.”
So Childs decided to return to the Cougars, unlike Bryant, who is three years older than Childs and thought it was time to leave.
“Me and Eli’s situations are just different,” Childs said. “He’s going to be 23 at the time of the draft. He’s married and kind of at that point in his life where he’s ready to be a pro. I’m in a different situation than a lot of players at BYU. I didn’t go on a mission. I’m young enough that I feel like worst case scenario, I can have those same opportunities a year from now.”
Childs got nothing but support from head coach Dave Rose, who encouraged Childs to explore his opportunities. Now that he’s back, Childs is really excited about next season.
“I think it’s going to be the best team that I’ve played on in the last three years by far,” Childs said. “I think that we’re going to win the conference tournament, and I think we’re going to go to the NCAA Tournament.”