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South Carolina forward Chris Silva enters NBA draft sans agent

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - South Carolina v Florida

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26: Chris Silva #30 of the South Carolina Gamecocks reacts after a play against the Florida Gators in the second half during the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament East Regional at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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Tuesday afternoon South Carolina junior forward Chris Silva announced that he will be going through the NBA draft process without an agent, thus preserving his final season of collegiate eligibility.

The 6-foot-9 Silva was one of the SEC’s best front court players in 2017-18, averaging 14.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and earning first team all-conference honors. Silva, who also averaged 1.4 blocks per game, shot 46.7 percent from the field and 75.3 percent from the foul line during his junior campaign.

After serving as a reserve in Frank Martin’s rotation as a freshman, Silva’s been entrenched as a starter each of the last two years. As a sophomore Silva made 37 starts on a team that reached the Final Four, averaging 10.2 points and 6.1 rebounds in just under 21 minutes per game. Over the course of his career Silva’s improved with regards to staying out of foul trouble, with his fouls committed per 40 minutes dropping from 9.4 as a freshman to 5.3 in 2017-18.

Silva receiving feedback from NBA scouts and executives can only benefit him, especially if he can score an invite to next month’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. But if he were to leave South Carolina would have to account for the loss of its top scorer and rebounder, with Maik Kotsar (8.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg) being the Gamecocks’ second-most productive front court returnee.

Felipe Haase averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game as a freshman, with classmate Jason Cudd averaging 6.8 minutes per game in 23 appearances. South Carolina has also signed 6-foot-8 forward Alanzo Frink as part of its 2018 recruiting class.