University of Oregon big-man Jordan Bell has declared for the 2017 NBA Draft this coming June. The Long Beach native will sign with an agent, thus ending his college career.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 17, 2017
Bell saw his stock rise mightily through the NCAA Tournament where Oregon made the Final Four, losing in the National semi-final to North Carolina. Throughout the tournament Bell was an absolute beast in the paint for the Ducks following the loss of center Chris Boucher, and also showcased an improved mid-range jumper. His highlight game was against Kansas in the Elite Eight in which Bell blocked eight shots, seeming like a blur everywhere he went on the court. Following the injury to Boucher, Bell, slid over to the center spot and at 6’9 showcased his athleticism and toughness.
— Joe (@GoFireFan) April 2, 2017
Spending three seasons in Eugene, saving his best for his recent junior year, Bell averaged a career-high 10.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while shooting 63.6 percent from the field. During the NCAA Tournament though, Bell was a man on the warpath averaging 12.6 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 3.0 blocks, and 2.4 turnovers per game while shooting 73 percent with double-doubles in all five games.
The following is from a thank-you letter that Bell posted on Riselongbeach.com:
“After talking it over with my friends and family, I have decided now is that now is the best time for me to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA. With that being said, I’m going to enter my name in the NBA draft and plan to sign with an agent.”
Several mock drafts have listed Bell as a fringe first-round pick or an early second-rounder, including Draftexpress.com listing him at 38th overall. While it may seem like Bell is a “tweener” being a forward-center at only 6’9, he makes up for it with his high-twitch athleticism, awareness on the defensive end, and his patented toughness. Bell plays with a ton of energy constantly running up and down the floor and living above the rim, so while his height is not ideal for his position it’s easy to see him playing in the league for a long career as a reserve big.