Kennedy Meeks withdraws from draft, returns to UNC for senior season

ByC.L. Brown ESPN logo
Wednesday, May 4, 2016

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina's Kennedy Meekshas withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will return for his senior season, the school announced Wednesday.

The 6-foot-9 forward has essentially been a three-year starter for the Tar Heels. He slimmed down from being close to 300 pounds when he arrived on campus to playing at around 260 pounds last season as a junior.

Meeks was slowed by a knee injury that forced him to miss seven games, but he started in 28 games this season and averaged 9.2 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 54 percent from the floor.

"I appreciate the support my coaches and teammates gave me during this process as we gathered information about my professional opportunities at this time," Meeks said in a statement. "The feedback on what I have to work on so that I can have a great senior year, help my team have a great season and be ready to take that next step is invaluable."

Meeks' return leaves forward Justin Jackson as the lone North Carolina player still going through the draft process. Jackson was invited to the draft combine. Players who haven't signed with agents have until May 25 to withdraw their names and still maintain college eligibility.

"Kennedy did the right thing in taking the time to see where he stood with the NBA draft at this point in his career, an opportunity we encourage all of our players to take," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "I think Kennedy's made the right decision in returning to school to finish his degree and put himself in better position toward playing professional basketball, which is his dream.

"If he works hard this summer, he can have a big-time senior season and also help our team reach its goals."