Arizona sophomore forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson declared for the 2015 NBA Draft, the school announced on Tuesday night.
“To start off, I just want to say thank you to the city of Tucson and our great fans for everything over the last two years,” Hollis-Jefferson said in a statement. “It’s not every day that a kid from where I grew up gets blessed with an opportunity like this.
“I’ve decided to move on to the next chapter of my life and enter my name in the 2015 NBA Draft. After talking with my family and Coach (Sean) Miller to weigh the pros and cons, I fully believe this is the right choice. I’m excited for the challenges that lie ahead, and with the knowledge that God rewards hard work, I plan to attack them.”
Hollis-Jefferson averaged 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, as arguably the best defender in the Pac-12 Conference.
The 6-foot-7 forward is projected as the No. 23 overall pick, according to DraftExpress.com.
On Monday, Arizona forward Brandon Ashley announced he would enter the draft. Sean Miller is still waiting the decision of freshman wing Stanley Johnson and possibly big man Kaleb Tarczewski.
Arizona is expected to lose some pieces to the NBA Draft in the aftermath of their Elite Eight loss to No. 1 Wisconsin, and Wednesday afternoon it was reported by multiple outlets that one player has already decided to enter his name into the 2015 NBA Draft pool.
It was first reported by Evan Daniels of Scout.com that sophomore forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson plans to forego his final two seasons of eligibility. However, Hollis-Jefferson took to Twitter shortly thereafter to deny that any decision had been made.
“When the time is right I’ll make my decision. I must first have a sit down with my coach and my mother. No decision has been made.,” Hollis-Jefferson tweeted.
Hollis-Jefferson averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game for the Wildcats this season, shooting 50.2 percent from the field. Expected to be a small forward at the next level, the 6-foot-7 sophomore is projected by DraftExpress.com to be selected 24th in this year’s NBA Draft and he’s ranked 24th among the site’s top 100 prospects.
Hollis-Jefferson’s defensive ability, athleticism and motor are reasons why he’s projected to be a first round pick, but he’ll need to be better offensively (especially in regards to perimeter shooting) should he decide to move on.
Sean Miller and his staff have planned for early departures in their recruiting, with guards Justin Simon and Allonzo Trier and wing Ray Smith joining the program this summer, as will big man Chance Comanche (and they’re one of two finalists for Ivan Rabb, with Cal being the other).
In addition to the newcomers guard Kadeem Allen, who redshirted this season, will also be available for Arizona. Freshman Stanley Johnson and juniors Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski are the other Wildcats who have decisions to make regarding this summer’s NBA Draft.
Here’s a Rob Dauster Lifehack for you:
Don’t jump with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
I tried to tell you…