Coppin State senior guard Anthony Tarke has declared for the 2021 NBA draft, he announced on social media Wednesday night, but will maintain his college eligibility.
“I’d like to thank Coach Juan [Dixon] and the coaching staff here at Coppin State for everything they have taught me in my short time of being here,” he said. “That being said, after praying with my family and loves ones, I’ve decided to declare for the 2021 NBA Draft.”
Tarke, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound guard from Gaithersburg, was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year after averaging a team-high 16.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this season. He also led the team in blocks and steals to earn MEAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, helping the Eagles finish first in the North Division and reach the conference tournament semifinals.
It marked the eighth time that a Coppin State player won the MEAC’s top honor, and the first time since the 2008-09 season. Nendah Tarke, a freshman shooting guard who played a crucial role in bringing his elder brother to the team, was voted the MEAC Rookie of the Year.
“They’re tremendous athletes, they’re capable shooters who are getting better every day,” coach Juan Dixon, the former University of Maryland standout who propelled the Terps to their first and only NCAA Division I championship in 2002, said earlier this season. “They just bring something to our program that we haven’t had since I’ve been the head coach at Coppin, and that’s just crazy length and athleticism and toughness. They’re physical basketball players, and we’re just going to continue to push these guys hard and help them to have success.”
Anthony Tarke, a transfer from UTEP who spent his first two years at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, ranked in the top 50 in the country in steals (eighth at 2.6 per game), total steals (10th at 57), total free-throw attempts (19th at 156), defensive rebounds (31st at 6.6 PG), blocked shots (38th at 1.9 PG), double doubles (39th at eight), and total blocks (48th at 42).
The 22-year-old left-hander showcased his all-around skill with 34 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and four blocks in a win over UNC Greensboro early in the season. According to the College-Basketball-Reference database, Tarke became the first Division I player to hit those benchmarks in a game since at least the 2010-11 season.
Joe Pace, a fifth-round pick by the Phoenix Suns in 1975 and a second-round pick by the Washington Bullets in 1976, is the only player in Coppin State history to be selected in the NBA draft.
The 2021 NBA draft will be held July 29, and the scouting combine is scheduled to take place June 21-27.