Iverson Molinar hoped to parlay a strong junior season at Mississippi State into a professional draft selection.
But Molinar’s decision to leave school early didn’t pay off.
At least, not in Thursday’s NBA draft, in which the Panamanian guard went unselected. Molinar’s exclusion was no surprise — he was expected to go undrafted — but slim hopes of sneaking into the late second round went unfulfilled.
Late Thursday night, though, Molinar signed an undrafted free-agent deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Molinar declared for the draft while maintaining his collegiate eligibility on March 25 and signed with an agent a month later, forgoing his remaining time in maroon and white.
He led Mississippi State with 17.5 points per game — good for third in the Southeastern Conference — while averaging 3.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per contest.
A once-reliable 3-point shot escaped Molinar entirely last season, as he shot just 25.2 percent from deep. During his sophomore season, Molinar connected on 43.6 percent of his attempts from 3.
Still, Molinar was a reliable scoring presence for the Bulldogs. He reached double figures in all 34 games as Mississippi State went 18-16 and lost in the first round of the NIT.
He became the second MSU guard to leave school early but go undrafted in as many seasons. D.J. Stewart Jr. did the same last year in a move lamented by coach Ben Howland, who was fired after the 2021-22 season.
Molinar was one of eight scholarship players to leave Starkville after Howland’s firing. Six entered the transfer portal (D.J. Jeffries and Shakeel Moore did as well but chose to return to MSU) and forward Garrison Brooks also chose to turn pro after exhausting his eligibility.
Brooks was not selected in Thursday’s draft but on Friday signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the New York Knicks.
Theo DeRosa reports on Mississippi State sports for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter at @Theo_DeRosa.