Gillenwater withdraws name from NBA Draft

LAS CRUCES – Former New Mexico State forward Troy Gillenwater was one of 41 NBA Draft early entry candidates to withdraw before the league’s withdrawal deadline on Monday.

After declaring for the draft in April following a his junior season at NMSU, Gillenwater opted not to withdraw from the Draft before the NCAA’s deadline of May 8, signing with Los Angeles-based agent Scott Nichols and waiting until the NBA’s deadline, less than two weeks before the June 23 draft.

“The NCAA deadline doesn’t give kids a real chance to test the waters,” said Nichols , who has represented Gillenwater for the past month. “Troy knew that for whatever reason, he was not going back to school so the May 8 deadline didn’t mean much to him. He will be draft-eligible next year so he can go to the D-League or more likely, overseas.”

In his first full season as a go-to player on the Aggies, Gillenwater was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference player and NABC All-District selection. Gillenwater’s minutes per game climbed from 22.8 as a sophomore to 30.3 last season and he led the team in scoring (18.9 points per game) and rebounding (6.3 rpg), as the Aggies finished with a 16-17 record.

Gillenwater was one of 27 players from U.S. colleges who were on the initial early entry list but have since withdrawn.

Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said Gillenwater was in good academic standing when he made his initial decision to pursue a professional career.

“He was eligible when he made his decision to leave,” Menzies said. “After that, he made a conscious choice to start training and pursuing a professional career. If he had decided to come back, he would have had some things he would have had to get taken care of.”

At 6-foot-8, Gillenwater has the body and shooting touch to create matchup problems on the offensive end of the court, regardless of what league he plays in.

Since leaving school, Nichols said the focus has been on recovering from injuries and working on his conditioning so he can defend professional small forwards.

“Everyone knows that he is a great scorer and people like his versatility to play the three or the four,” Nichols said. “Everyone thinks the big question is not his skills, but because he was injured, how good of shape is he in? Defensively he needs to get better and a lot of that has to do with conditioning.”

Nichols said he has received interest in Gillenwater from leagues in Israel, Belgium, Germany, Italy and France.

For a rookie in Europe, salaries range between $80,000 to $110,000 per year while Asian clubs pay more.

The NBA’s Developmental League is also an option, although the pay doesn’t compare to European clubs.

“The D-League is a great option to be seen by NBA teams, but there will be a lockout and part of the reason guys play in the D-League is to get moved up and I don’t know how much moving up will happen,” Nichols said. “It’s also a
struggle to live and Troy is not a guy who comes from a lot of money.

“In Europe, teams will be following him. He will be able to go make good money and it’s my job to place him in a good league where he will still be on people’s minds.”

Jason Groves can be reached at (575) 541-5459

Source: Jason Groves, Las Cruces Sun-News