PORIRUA tennager Steve Adams is putting his name forward for the 2013 NBA draft.
Adams, the half-brother of Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams, is in line for an initial salary of $1.3 million if he makes the cut.
While he did not directly comment, it is believed that instead of returning to the University of Pittsburgh as previously indicated, he would instead aim to make the pro-league early, Fairfax NZ reported.
He is 2.13m tall and if picked would be the first New Zealander to be picked in the first round of the draft, when the professional teams get to select the best-ranked young players.
His mentor and coach Kenny McFadden was convinced Adams would be selected.
“Definitely somewhere in the first round, because a lot of those scouts have seen him play over the last two or three years, at the Adidas Nations [grassroots tournament],” McFadden told Fairfax.
The draft will be held in New York in June, but before that Adams will play at the NBA combine tests next month.
“That’s what he’s looking forward to – showing his whole range of skills,” McFadden said.
”He’s packed with potential. He’s a long way away from the finished product but, as they say in the US, there’s a very high ceiling in terms of getting to his best.”
Not everyone is convinced entering the draft with only one season of college basketball is a good idea.
New Zealand Breakers player Alex Pledger tweeted: “Not sure if big Steve is making the right choice. Guess time will tell.”
Money is a major factor, with Adams keen to share any windfall with his family.
“That was the No 1 motivation. He told me four years ago, one of his goals was to make the NBA and help out his family,” McFadden said.
“It’s time for him to help out his family, there’s no better time than now. He feels he’s ready to make the next step.”
Other Kiwis to make their mark in the league include Sean Marks, who spent 11 seasons in the NBA after being drafted in the second round, and Kirk Penny, who played a small number of games for the LA Clippers and Miami Heat.
Adams had a mixed season at Pittsburgh, rarely featuring in their offence, but was a standout in their opening round NCAA loss to Wichita State.
It is possible that if picked he will be sent away to the NBA development league.