Amir Coffey declares for NBA Draft

Coffey can return for senior season if undrafted, per NCAA rules

Freshman guard Amir Coffey drives the ball up the court on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Sports Pavilion. 

Chris Dang, Daily File Photo

Freshman guard Amir Coffey drives the ball up the court on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 at the Sports Pavilion. 

Nick Jungheim

After leading the Gophers in scoring during his junior season with 16.6 points per game, Amir Coffey has declared for the NBA Draft. Coffey confirmed the news with an Instagram post on Wednesday night. 

In the final eight games of the season, Coffey proved himself as one of the best players in the conference, helping Minnesota finish strong and win its first NCAA Tournament game since 2013, averaging 23.5 points per game over that stretch. Both the media and coaches named Coffey as a third team All-Big Ten selection.

Due to a new NCAA rule implemented before this season, Coffey’s decision doesn’t mean his time at the University is over. Players who declare for the draft and hire an agent, but are not selected can now return to college with full eligibility.  

According to the Star Tribune, the NBA will soon send out invitations to those invited to the NBA combine, which will occur in Chicago from May 14-19. If Coffey receives an invitation and impresses, it’s possible a team will select him in the NBA draft on June 20. Otherwise, he will likely return to Minnesota for his senior season.  

Coffey is the second Gophers player to announce his departure from the program this week. On Monday, sophomore Isaiah Washington announced he was transferring after two seasons with the program.  

In the event that Coffey does not return, the Gophers’ backcourt would have to compensate for a significant loss. At guard, the team will see Gabe Kalscheur return, who started every game as a freshman last season. In addition, Marcus Carr and Payton Willis will get to play after sitting out last season due to transfer rules, and the team will add another guard for next year in commit Tre’ Williams.