In a move that some may see as a bit surprising, TCU Basketball redshirt junior guard has elected to forgo his final season of eligibility and declare for the 2021 NBA Draft.
Nembhard started the 2020-2021 season strong, scoring 20 points or more four times across a seven game stretch from December 3rd to January 2nd. He hit a game winner at Oklahoma State as part of a late comeback against Cade Cunningham and the Cowboys, the third game-winning or tying shot of his TCU career.
Nembhard carried the scoring load for a young, offensively-challenged TCU team in his third season on the floor, and was relied on to be a primary ball handler the last two years. He raised his scoring average from 12 to nearly 16 points per game last season, setting career highs in rebounds (4.3) and assists (4.0) per game, while shooting 40% from the floor and 34% from behind the arc.
A product of Keller, TX, the 6’5”, 200 pound guard signed with TCU as a 4* prospect over 15 other offers, including Baylor, Oklahoma, Creighton, and Texas. He grew 3” and added 30 pounds to his frame while in the program, mostly during his redshirt year in 2017-2018.
Considered a fringe professional prospect coming into his junior year, Nembhard’s early scoring prowess and inclination for success in big moments got him on the NBA radar last winter. He ate up opponents across the preseason schedule, highlighted by a 25 point game against Providence, 23 against Northwestern State, and 22 against North Dakota State, including making all three of his three point attempts. He had a career high 31 against Iowa State as a sophomore, connecting on six of his eight threes, including a tying shot at the end of regulation to send the game to OT.
Considered a top 30 prospect by most pundits, Nembhard is likely a fringe first rounder this summer. But he’s a long defender that rebounds well at his position and has the ability to be a plus defender at the next level, in addition to his solid mechanics and good shooting stroke. He also has leadership and confidence in spades, and should impress in pre-draft workouts and interviews.
This is, of course, a massive loss for a TCU Basketball program coming off of one of the more disappointing seasons in recent memory. Not only was Nembhard their best player, he is also a strong leader, and the young core will need to find an identity without one of their key veterans. That being said, RJ has worked as hard as anyone for this opportunity, and will certainly make Frog fans proud at the next level.
We wish him nothing but the best, and can’t wait to see him square off with or against Desmond Bane and Kenrich Williams on an NBA court soon.