BOSTON (CBS) — One collegiate phenom has already tossed his name into June’s upcoming NBA draft, which should make Celtics’ fans feel a little more at ease about the upcoming crop of potential lottery picks.

Star Kansas freshman Joel Embiid has decided to forgo the final three seasons of his college career and will enter the draft, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Thursday.

The 7-foot Embiid is projected to be a top pick in the upcoming draft after averaging 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks for the Jayhawks this season. He showed that he can be a force on the defensive side of the ball, blocking five or more shots in six games, but a back injury ended his freshman year early. Embiid sat out the final six games of the season, including two NCAA tournament games, with a stress fracture in his back, but said he would have returned had Kansas made it to the Sweet 16.

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Embiid, a Cameroon native, is expected to make a full recovery but the back injury will still be a focus for NBA teams with high picks. Even with the injury, the center will likely be a Top 5 pick in the draft.

The Celtics currently sit at 23-48, the fifth-worst record in the NBA. They have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft; their own and either the Brooklyn Nets or Atlanta Hawks selection.




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