As first reported by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and moments later confirmed on Instagram, Marquette men’s basketball junior forward Olivier-Maxence Prosper is entering his name into the 2023 NBA Draft.
Marquette wing Olivier-Maxence Prosper is declaring for the NBA Draft, he told ESPN. The 6'8 NBA Academy product is a versatile defender with a 7'1 wingspan who helped Marquette win both the Big East regular season and tournament championships. pic.twitter.com/r7W6euWHoB— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 12, 2023
For posterity’s sake, here’s Prosper’s statement on Instagram:
First, I’d like to thank God for everything he’s giving me in my life and for always being by my side. It’s a blessing to be able to wake up everyday and do what I love. Thank you to my family for always supporting me and being there for me as I strive for my goals.
I’d like to thank my teammates for accepting me for who I am and always having my back. You are all my brothers for life. Thank you to my coaches for always pushing me to become a better version of myself and challenging me in ways that helped me grow every single day. Thank you for believing in me and who I could become. Thank you to the MUBB support staff for making sure I always had everything I needed to be at my best. Thank you Marquette Nation for being the best fans in the country and always making me feel at home.
With that said, I am proud to announce that I will be declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft. Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine and I’m excited for what comes next.
Onwards to the two words you do not see in there at all: Agent and Eligibility. It is not 100% clear from Prosper’s statement as to whether or not he is foregoing his final year of eligibility as well as his COVID bonus season of eligibility. Thankfully, Ben Steele from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is hard at work and has confirmed from sources at the McGuire Center that Prosper will maintain his collegiate eligibility for the time being.
Prosper averaged 12.5 points (3rd on the team) and 4.7 rebounds (2nd) per game for Marquette this past season as the Golden Eagles went 29-7, breaking a program record for wins in a season and winning both the Big East regular season and tournament championship. It’s quite obvious what NBA scouts might like about his game, as the 6’8”, 230 pound Prosper has the athleticism to be a threat both on the bounce and as a catch and shoot guy. He connected on just under 34% of his three-point attempts this season, but that’s up from under 32% as a sophomore in 2021-22. He can hit free throws with regularity, and was a major threat to draw fouls both while rebounding and taking it to the rack. Prosper’s ability to defend in space and in the post could be useful to an NBA club, although he’s far from what you would want to see in a rim protector on a regular basis.
Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for Prosper to make an announcement. The deadline to make an early entry to the draft is about two weeks away, so there wasn’t really much reason to wait, especially with the deadline to withdraw not coming until after the NBA Combine at the end of May. There’s no downside to putting your name in, as long as you don’t mind being told “there is absolutely no way you will get drafted,” which is always a possibility, of course. Other than that, the worst part about putting yourself into the process is being told what you need to work on to turn yourself into a draft prospect for next year, and that’s more constructive criticism than anything else.
With that said, we will have to see if staying in the draft is a smart decision. The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie’s most recent Mock Draft from late March went out to 58 spots (picks were lost to free agency tomfoolery) and he has Prosper going #49 to the Clippers. This was after Prosper was at #62 on his 100 player Big Board in early March. Conversely, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo published a 58 pick Mock Draft earlier in the day on Wednesday, and Prosper was nowhere to be found. Factor in the part where #49 in a 58 pick draft is absolutely in the window of it’s impossible to predict because of draft day trades as well as teams suddenly going waaaaay off the board to draft and stash a foreign born player, and it’s easy to see how Prosper could very easily go undrafted.
As far as potential impact on Marquette if he does stay in the draft? Let’s call it limited at best. We know that national pundits are projecting the Golden Eagles to be a top five team heading into next season, generally speaking. We can’t poll each individual person as to what they think about MU without Prosper, but we can turn to BartTorvik.com’s RosterCast feature. With Prosper returning, T-Rank has Marquette as the #4 team in the country to start the 2023-24 season, falling in between #1 Connecticut and #12 Creighton in terms of teams in the Big East.
#10 in the country.... and thus still between UConn and the Bluejays for second best in the Big East.
If we’re being honest, that’s not much of a change. You can qualify both data points as “a projected national championship contender and a projected Big East title contender” and not have to squint too hard to see it. It would probably mean big things from David Joplin, Ben Gold, and freshman Al Amadou to push the Golden Eagles over the line, but the algorithm says what the algorithm says.
Best of luck to OMax as he figures out the best path forward for himself and his future!