Washington Huskies star Jaylen Nowell confirmed what many had expected and will enter the NBA draft.
“After talking with my mother, family, teammates and coaching staff, I have decided to enter the 2019 NBA draft,” Nowell posted on his Instagram and Twitter accounts Sunday afternoon. “I want to thank everyone, especially the city of Seattle for your support.
“I hope you all will continue to support me through my professional career. I will always be a Dawg for life. Much love, and Go Dawgs!”
Nowell, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, averaged 16.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals this season while shooting 50.2 percent from the field and 44.0 percent on three-pointers.
Nowell won the Pac-12 player of the year award and joined Brandon Roy (2006) and Chris Welp (1986) as the only UW players to receive the award.
“This season has been nothing less than amazing,” Nowell said. “The life lessons I’ve learned as a student and an athlete will continue to guide me through the rest of my life, and have prepared me for the next step of my career.”
In the past three years, the NCAA made sweeping changes to its early-entry rules that now allow players to hire an agent, attend the NBA combine and private team workouts between the NBA early-entry eligibility deadline on April 21 and 10 days after the conclusion of the May 14-19 NBA draft combine.
Nowell has until May 29 to decide if he’s going to remain in the draft or return for his junior season.
According to USA Today, 181 players declared for the draft early last year and 100 withdrew before the deadline. Forty-one players were drafted and 40 were undrafted and without NCAA eligibility.
NBAdraft.net projects Nowell as the ninth selection in the second round (No. 39 overall) while ESPN.com doesn’t include him among its top 100 draft prospects.
“This is a great opportunity for Jaylen to continue to pursue his dreams of one day playing professionally,” coach Mike Hopkins said in a statement released by UW. “It’s an amazing honor and achievement for him.
“When he chose to stay with us two years ago and come to the University of Washington, we have seen him grow every single day, both on and off the court. Our staff couldn’t be prouder of what he has already accomplished here at UW and we will be here throughout the whole process to help in any way we can.”
Obviously, losing Nowell would be a big blow for Pac-12 regular-season champion Washington, which must also replace four departing seniors in Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson, David Crisp and Dominic Green.