Canadian high school recruit Leonard Miller is withdrawing from the NBA draft and will sign with the NBA’s G League Ignite program, he told ESPN.
The NBA draft withdrawal deadline is Monday at 5 p.m. ET, and mostly applies to international players since the NCAA withdrawal deadline for those intending on maintaining college eligibility was June 1.
“My decision to withdraw from this year’s draft is based on what’s best for my long-term development,” Miller said. “With another year of development both on and off the court, I will put myself in an even better position for the 2023 draft. Going through the pre-draft process, I learned about what it takes to be a successful professional. Whether it’s the daily on-court work, off-court work, diet, or recovery, I have gained a much greater understanding of the habits it takes to get to the top of this field.”
Miller, the No. 43 prospect in the ESPN 100, elected to enter the NBA draft after a strong showing at the Nike Hoop Summit in April, when he established himself as the best long-term prospect on the international team in a week of practices in front of a host of NBA decision-makers in Portland, Oregon. He measured 6-foot-10 with a 7-2 wingspan at the NBA draft combine in Chicago last month.
Miller, who doesn’t turn 19 until the end of November, was the youngest prospect in the class, 35 days away from being ineligible until the 2023 draft. He said he believes the feedback he garnered in private workouts and interview sessions at the combine will help him take the next step in his development next season with the G League Ignite.
“I was incredibly blessed to have several great options,” Miller said. “For me, the final decision was based on what I felt was the environment to put me in the best possible position to reach my ultimate goal of playing and excelling in the NBA. The feedback I got was mostly based on continuing to develop my shooting and ball handling. I also look forward to developing my body from a strength, conditioning, and agility standpoint. Playing against and training with professionals every day will also help me with the pace and energy of the NBA, which I know is important for me as well.”
Miller’s late-blooming trajectory — he stood 6-foot-5 two years ago before returning to Canada to play prep school basketball at Fort Erie International Academy and emerging as a five-star-caliber recruit — gives him lottery-level potential next year with the physical tools and scoring instincts he displays. He makes difficult shots from all over the floor; sniffs out easy baskets in transition, off the ball and crashing the offensive glass; and has intriguing defensive versatility with his length and instincts as his frame fills out and he gains high-level experience.
Averaging over 30 points per game and winning the OSBA championship, he was heavily pursued by programs that included Kentucky and Arizona before he elected to pursue the professional route.
Miller joins Scoot Henderson, the projected No. 2 pick in the 2023 NBA draft, on G League Ignite’s roster. The NBA’s development program has several additional signings to make this summer, most of which are expected to come on the international front with the stiff competition it’s faced domestically from Overtime Elite and NIL-fueled college basketball staffs.
“My versatility will allow me to impact the game in whatever ways the Ignite coaching staff feels maximizes our chances to win, as well as that maximizes my development,” Miller said. “I look forward to being a sponge and applying their expertise to take my game to the next level.”
Miller is one of several international players who will withdraw from the 2022 NBA draft ahead of Monday’s deadline, joining potential second-round picks Karlo Matkovic and Zvonimir Ivisic from Croatia and Montenegro, respectively. Internationals Ousmane Dieng, Nikola Jovic, Ismael Kamagate, Hugo Besson, Gabriele Procida, Ziga Samar and Gui Santos will all keep their names in the draft past the deadline, sources told ESPN.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by the NBA, the NCAA and international teams.