Georgia Tech's James Banks reacts after a basket against the St. John's Red Storm during the first half of the HoopHall Miami Invitational Dec. 8, 2019, at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

James Banks withdrawing from NBA draft

Georgia Tech center James Banks has withdrawn from the NBA draft. Banks, who announced Monday that he was applying to be eligible for the draft, withdrew Tuesday, according to a team spokesman.

It is a quick change in plans. Banks had until May 29 to withdraw from the draft to retain his final season of college eligibility.

On Tuesday evening, Banks tweeted a photo of himself working out, writing “Eyes on the prize.”


Not testing his draft candidacy could well enable him to devote himself to training with his teammates with time he might have otherwise spent sharpening himself for possible workouts with NBA teams.

With Banks’ return ensured, coach Josh Pastner will have his top three scorers back. The Yellow Jackets will also welcome transfer guard Jordan Usher, who will be eligible to play no later than the end of the fall semester, and guard Bubba Parham, a transfer from VMI who may be eligible for a hardship waiver.

Banks’ mother Sonja wrote in a private Twitter message Wednesday that she was in complete support of her son’s decision to withdraw from the draft and that she was “extremely excited about the 2019-20 basketball season with Coach Pastner,” she wrote.

Banks, from Decatur, had a breakout season for the Yellow Jackets after transferring from Texas following his sophomore season and receiving a hardship waiver to play immediately. 

After playing a backup role with the Longhorns, averaging 10.7 minutes per game, Banks became a linchpin for the Jackets. He averaged 10.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 30.3 minutes per game. Banks’ block average led the ACC and was 11th nationally. He was named to the ACC’s all-defensive team.

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