Hens’ Darling declares for NBA draft but could return to UD

NEWARK — The Delaware men’s basketball coaching staff knew Nate Darling was going to be a really good player when he became eligible for the Blue Hens this past winter.

Now they’ll have to wait and see if the junior guard was a little too good.

Today, Darling announced that he’s entering his name into the pool for this year’s NBA draft. But the 6-foot-5 native of Nova Scotia is also maintaining the right to withdraw his name and return to UD for his senior season.

“After consulting with my coaches and family, I will be entering my name into the 2020 NBA Draft while maintaining my eligibility,” Darling said in a press release. “I am very excited for this opportunity as it has always been a dream of mine to play at the highest level.”

By declaring for the draft, Darling can work out and be evaluated by NBA teams, receiving feedback and advice on how to maximize his chances of reaching the NBA. The deadline for players to withdraw in order to return to school is currently June 3. The 2020 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 25.

Darling was a first-team All-CAA, NABC All-District 10, and USBWA All-District II selection this season. He averaged 21.0 points per game which ranked third in the CAA, 18th in Division I and sixth in a UD single season.

Darling scored 672 points this year, third most in a UD single season and seven shy of the school record.

Junior Nate Darling sank a school-record 107 three-pointers for the Hens this winter. Delaware sports information/Mark Campbell

He also set a Blue Hen record by hitting 107 three-pointers this season, sixth most in the nation.

Darling transferred from UAB after two seasons there. He practiced with the Hens for a year before becoming eligible this past season.

“We are extremely supportive of Nate’s decision to explore the NBA Draft process,” Blue Hen coach Martin Ingelsby said. “This process will help him pursue his dreams of playing professional basketball at the highest level and we will do everything we can to help him reach his goal.”

Delaware has had a couple top players transfer to other schools in the last two off-seasons, including Ryan Daly (St. Joe’s) and Ithiel Horton (Pitt).

After reaching the CAA semifinals in March and finishing with the program’s most wins since 2014, the Hens were expected to be one of the league’s top teams next year. They had only two seniors on the roster, both of whom were reserves.