Creighton’s Patton to declare for draft and hire an agent

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Justin Patton’s rapid rise through the basketball ranks continues.

The freshman big man will declare for the NBA draft with the intention of signing with an agent, sources confirmed to NBCSports.com.

Patton went from a relatively unheralded recruit to top-100 prospect while a prep in Omaha, but still redshirted his initial college season of 2015-16 before wowing scouts and the rest of the sport alike with his dynamic play for the Bluejays.

The 7-footer averaged 12.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks this season for Creighton. He’s considered a potential lottery pick given his size and skill set.

His departure is a considerable blow for Creighton, which appeared to have a dream season shaping up in 2016-17 before Maurice Watson tore his ACL in January and later was accused of sexual assault.

Marcus Foster will return for his senior season after rehabbing his game and image during his junior season with Creighton. He averaged 18.2 points in his first year with the Bluejays after transferring from Kansas State.

The Vertical’s Sham Charania was the first to report on Patton’s decision.