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Terquavion Smith officially declares for NBA Draft but will maintain college eligibility

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Can he work his way into the first round?

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve known for a while that Terquavion Smith, like Dereon Seabron, would enter his name into the NBA Draft and go through the evaluation process. Smith made that official today.

While there is absolutely no telling what might develop throughout the leadup to the draft, Smith told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony what it likely will take to keep him from returning to college:

”I will be working out for teams and seeing how high I can get in the draft. I’m signing with a NCAA certified agent to maintain my eligibility. I want to be taken with a high pick — top 20. I want to be able to contribute effectively to an NBA team.”

So if he feels like he’s solidly in the first round—which would almost certainly mean multiple franchises are interested—then he’ll stay in the draft. If that ends up being the case, then we’ll all wish him the best as he makes what is obviously the correct choice.

Duke’s Jalen Johnson was the 20th overall selection last year and received a four-year deal worth about $12.9 million, with $5.4 million guaranteed. Since these rookie deals are tied to the salary cap, and the cap goes up annually, the 20th overall pick in 2022 will be making a bit more. It’s a lot of money, is what I’m saying.

In a mock draft from two weeks ago, Givony had Baby T going at No. 39 to Minnesota. General consensus seems to be that he has work to do to make himself a first-rounder; I have no doubt he’ll get there eventually, I just don’t know if that will happen this spring or after another year of college basketball.