Childs, Emery return; Bryant declares for NBA Draft

Josh Ellis
Yoeli Childs posts up against Jonathan Williams during the second half of the WCC tournament championship game. Childs announced he will return to BYU for his junior season after declaring for the NBA Draft earlier this year. (Josh Ellis)

Yoeli Childs announced on May 15 via Twitter that he will return to BYU for his junior year.

The 6-foot-8-inch forward made his announcement almost one year after former BYU basketball player Eric Mika signed with an agent and entered the NBA Draft.

Childs declared for the NBA Draft on March 27 but did not hire an agent to preserve his collegiate eligibility.

That decision allowed him to work out with NBA teams beginning on April 24 and potentially receive an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine.

Childs said he worked out with the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and Brooklyn Nets and received similar feedback from all three teams.

“They thought that I probably wouldn’t get drafted, that I could be a G League, two-way contract-type player and have the opportunity to make a team, but not necessarily get drafted,” Childs said.

After not being invited to the combine, Childs had until May 30 to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to BYU.

Childs said he feels capable of working up to the NBA through the G League, which is the NBA’s minor league system, similar to the path former BYU player Kyle Collinsworth took.

However, he added that his situation differs from that of most BYU athletes because he didn’t serve a mission.

“I’m young enough that I feel like, worst case scenario, I can have those same opportunities a year from now,” Childs said.

Childs was named a first-team All-West Coast Conference player after he averaged just under 18 points and nine rebounds per game last year.

Childs added that his coaching staff supported him through the entire process.

“Being a part of BYU basketball is special in terms of the coaches care about you,” Childs said. “That was the biggest thing throughout this whole process — the coaches were very supportive of me.”

Childs said that during the next year he plans to work on his footwork, trying to shoot the ball more consistently and switching ball screens.

“I just kind of tried to look at it in an open perspective,” he said. “I think it’s a balance of being confident in yourself and your abilities but also being open to the feedback and seeing what the teams think.”

Also returning to the team will be point guard Nick Emery, who left the team before last season’s opening game.

An NCAA investigation into a possible improper relationship between Emery and a BYU booster is still ongoing, but Emery said he was cleared of any honor code violations back in December 2017.

Emery averaged 13 points per game during his sophomore season.

Bryant declares for NBA Draft

Former BYU player Elijah Bryant declared for the NBA Draft and hired an agent on April 19, which forced him to forfeit a potential senior season with BYU.

The 6-foot-5-inch guard made the announcement on Twitter and held a pre-draft workout with the Utah Jazz on May 12.

With the Cougars, Bryant averaged 18 points and over six rebounds per game last season.

He also shot 49 percent from the field, 41 percent from three-point range and 85 percent from the free-throw line during his final year with BYU.

Gavin Baxter returns from LDS mission

BYU signee Gavin Baxter returned to Provo after serving in the Washington D.C. South Mission for two years.

The 4-star Baxter played for Timpview High School and committed to BYU in 2016, accepting coach Dave Rose’s offer over others from Arizona State, UCLA and Utah State.

He was rated as the third overall prospect in Utah by ESPN and the 63rd best prospect nationally by Rivals in 2016.

Baxter’s commitment came at the same time as Childs’, and the two Utah products will finally be able to show what they can do together at the Marriott Center this fall.

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