How Coronavirus could impact Daniel Oturu’s NBA future

Minnesota Gophers center Daniel Oturu (25) reacted after he fouled out in the second half of the Gophers' 70-52 win over Wisconsin. ((Photo by Renee Jones Schneider/Star Tribune via Getty Images))

Coronavirus has shut down the sports world. It forced the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, it canceled local high school state championships and has the professional sports world at a halt.

It could also have an impact on college basketball prospects and their looming decision of whether to stay in school, or pursue the NBA Draft process. One such athlete in that predicament is University of Minnesota sophomore Daniel Oturu.

The NBA league office sent to memo to NCAA coaches on Tuesday, saying the league is accepting applications to the Undergraduate Advisory Committee. That’s the organization that gives prospects feedback on their potential draft stock.

Problem is, draft prospects have nowhere to work out in front of NBA scouts to show off their skills. Like every other pro sport, the NBA is shut down and team facilities are closed. It means current prospects are facing the very real possibility of going through the draft process without being able to work out for any teams, or attend the NBA Combine.

Oturu was selected Second Team All-Big Ten after leading the conference in rebounding and finishing second in scoring behind Iowa’s Luka Garza, the conference’s Player of the Year. Oturu was the only player in the NCAA this season to average at least 20 points and 11 rebounds per game for the entire year.

Projections have him anywhere from a lottery pick to late in the first round. Some don’t have him drafted at all. The Gophers haven’t had a player selected in the NBA Draft since Kris Humphries in 2004. Oturu was named a Second Team All-American by Sporting News last week. Monday, CBS Sports named him a Third Team All-American.

Jordan Murphy is with the Iowa Wolves in the NBA’s G League, and Amir Coffey signed a contract with the L.A. Clippers after not getting drafted last year. College prospects face an interesting scenario with their basketball future if they can’t get feedback from NBA scouts.

Oturu will play professionally at some point, and before the Coronavirus outbreak, he was a lock to enter the NBA Draft process. Players who do so have until April 27 to either stay in the draft or return to school. That deadline could change, with the Centers for Disease Control recommending no public gatherings of at least 50 people for the next eight weeks.