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West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate to test NBA draft waters

West Virginia v Villanova

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 23: Sagaba Konate #50 of the West Virginia Mountaineers drives to the basket against Eric Paschall #4 of the Villanova Wildcats in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament East Regional at TD Garden on March 23, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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Coming off of a sophomore season in which he emerged as one of college basketball’s best rim protectors, West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate will test the NBA draft waters. Konate’s decision was announced Tuesday afternoon, and he will not hire an agent so as to preserve his collegiate eligibility.

Konate started all 36 games in which he played this season, averaging 10.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound Konate ranked third nationally in blocks per game and second in block percentage (15.64), with Pacific 7-footer Namdi Okonkwo (15.97) leading the way in that statistical category.

Players who enter their names into the NBA draft without hiring an agent have until May 30 (NCAA deadline) to withdraw if they intend to return to school.

Konate’s decision is a big one for West Virginia, which already has to account for the departures of guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. While the Mountaineers won’t lack for front court options next season, with 4-star recruit Derek Culver and junior college transfer Andrew Gordon joining a rotation that includes Esa Ahmad and Lamont West, losing a defender of Konate’s caliber would be a major blow to absorb if he were to remain in the draft.