Nike Sibande plans to test National Basketball Association (NBA) waters.
Miami head men’s basketball coach Jack Owens announced in a statement Friday morning that Sibande will enter his name into the 2019 NBA Draft.
“We are taking the necessary steps to get the proper feedback for Nike, so he can make an informed decision about his future,” Owens said in the statement. “He will evaluate his feedback and has an open mind about returning to Miami.”
“I’m eager to embrace this opportunity and put everything I’ve learned toward being the best player I can be at the next level,” Sibande wrote in the post.
The sophomore guard will spend the next two months being graded by NBA talent evaluators.
“I’m super excited,” Sibande told The Student. “This is what I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a kid. Now, it’s the time to do it. It’s like, this is about to be crazy. It’s about to be fun.”
He can pull himself from the player selection pool and decide to come back to Miami by 5 p.m. on June 10. Still 19 years old, he turns 20 on June 6.
He does not currently plan to hire an agent. He could sign with one and still return to the RedHawks, as long as he ends his deal with the agent before coming back.
“Right now, it’s a good time for me [to declare] because I just had a solid year and had some good accomplishments,” Sibande said. “I’m thankful for my team and my coaches, and I had a good year. I feel like I can do something at the next level or try to make some noise and get some type of interest or feedback.”
If Sibande has played his last game in a RedHawks’ uniform, he leaves Oxford with many awards and accolades in tow.
During his freshman season, Sibande won the 2018 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year award with 15.1 points per game, while leading Miami to its first postseason tournament berth since 2011.
The Indianapolis native, who attended Crispus Attucks High School, followed that by dropping 16.1 points per game and earning a third-team All-MAC selection in his sophomore campaign.
Last month, Sibande became the first sophomore in Miami men’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points.
“I’m definitely proud of what I’ve done here,” Sibande said. “Each year I’ve been here, this school’s been getting better and better. If I have played my last game as a RedHawk, this school is definitely on the come up. It’s definitely going to be a top team in the MAC, for sure.”
The RedHawks have gone 16-18 and 15-17, respectively, since Sibande’s arrival in the fall of 2017. Before that, they hadn’t won more than 15 games since the 2010-2011 season.
Sibande said he’ll listen to the feedback he receives and use it to his advantage, if he decides to return to Miami.
“I just want to know everything,” Sibande said. “I want to know what I need to get better at. The things that nobody wants to hear, I want to hear.”