Honeycutt declaring for NBA Draft, will hire agent

Tyler Honeycutt will declare for the NBA Draft and will hire an agent, the UCLA sophomore forward said during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

The Sylmar High product was long rumored to be planning on leaving for the NBA, despite a possible work stoppage, after an All-Pac-10 first team season.

Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 35 minutes per game as a sophomore in helping lead the Bruins to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, a year after the team went 14-18.

UCLA’s best pitch to Honeycutt was the potential for next year’s team, but Honeycutt cited what is projected to be a weak draft class as the catalyst for his decision.

“It wasn’t really conflicting,” Honeycutt said. “The biggest X-factor, the thing that would keep me, is the team next year and how good we could be. It could be a great team, but I feel like what’s best for me is to leave this year.”

Honeycutt met with UCLA head coach Ben Howland on Monday to discuss his plans, and got his blessing to leave, the latest in a long line of recent Bruin early entries.

Recent mock drafts have Honeycutt anywhere from the mid-first round to the early second round, but his play in the NCAA Tournament might have turned some heads. Honeycutt had 29 points, nine rebounds, nine assists, seven blocks and four steals in two tournament games as the Bruins beat Michigan State and lost to Florida.

Honeycutt said he was aiming for the lottery and was going to sign with an agent to maximize his preparation for the draft. Honeycutt said the biggest knock that he’s heard has been on his 6-8, 188-pound frame, and how it will react to the rigors of the NBA.

“I think I’ll fit in well,” Honeycutt said. “The factor for me is physically at the next level, which I plan to work on, dedicating every day to being the best player I can be. That’s probably the biggest knock on me – people talk about my frame.”

Howland tried to dissuade Honeycutt from making the decision because of the possible NBA lockout, which will affect incoming rookies tremendously, eliminating crucial summer workouts.

Now Howland will set to work on the team’s other potential early entries, junior guard Malcolm Lee and sophomore forward Reeves Nelson. Nelson implied he was leaning toward returning for his junior season after the NCAA Tournament run, but Lee was non-committal on his return.

“I just wish Tyler the very best,” Howland said. “He did a great job for us these past two years. He’s worked very hard, I think he improved a lot. He made a big jump from the end of his freshman year until now.

“He will always be a Bruin, and when he is done, I want him to make sure he comes back and finishes his degree here at UCLA, which he said he would.”

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  • Santi

    Good luck Tyler! You will need it. Start getting your passport ready.

  • UB (Ultimate Bruin)

    Bye bye! Thanks for allowing us to let you ‘showcase’ against Kansas and the 2 games in the NCAA. Go for the bling dude! You deserve it! And UCLA deserves players that are comitted to the team and not committed to the bling. Even if you did come back next year, you would work just hard enuf to get to a lottery pick. Pfffffff. Another heartless worm.

  • doug4ucla

    Same O Same O….UCLA has a near all-star team in the NBA…….Ben get guys who are going to stay at least thru the Jr. year…..pass a rule 3 years before you go and let someone take it to court…..NBA THUGS is not the way to go. MONEY talks and players walk…… sucks but we need to walk in the kids shoes with that $$$$$ in their face…..see you TH

  • Anonymous

    what nice people! TH just wants to live his dream, just like anybody wants to live theirs. quit being so selfish you cynical pricks

  • Anonymous

    Good luck Tyler. Ignore the naysayers. Do what is best for you and your family even if that means breaking the hearts of a bunch of middle aged basketball groupies.

  • The Blur

    Real disappointing to see so many haters. He’s not exactly “NBA ready,” but he’s got the skills and the measurables. He’s allowed to make his decision, and if he goes top 15, it’s probably a good one.

    On the other hand, Lee would be making a mistake, and Nelson would ruin his career.

    I wonder if the people trashing TH are the same ones who say Howland can’t coach and can’t recruit good players because of his style. Idiots.

    Goodluck, TH.

  • Lifelong Bruin Fan

    Totally agree with you, anonymous. I am certain Tyler will be a 1st round pick, which makes it prudent imho to declare for the draft. I wish him the best.

  • cj003

    TH is easily the most under-appreciated Ben Ball Warrior. Led the team in rebounding as a freshman. Led the team in blocks this year. all while weighing 180 lbs. He had his faults (turnovers, disappearing for stretches on offense), but he played good defense and worked hard. I think the kid is going to be a good pro if healthy, and wish him nothing but the best.
    I think he will shine in workouts and become a lottery pick. This draft is terrible, he will move up on draft boards. And i can’t blame him for leaving early. He has been dinged up his entire ucla career. Better to get hurt in the nba that have a career altering injury in college.

  • INawe

    Goodluck with that NBA lockout TH. You are going to wish you stayed for your senior year at UCLA.

  • Superbruin

    Good luck Tyler! Thanks for the two years. Work hard in those workouts so you can get that guaranteed $$.

  • Anon

    Someone please tell Ben to stop recruiting players who leave after only 1 or 2 years.

  • Shawnymoe

    Th thanks for a gd 2 years I hope ur not making a mistake leaving early.now why is it that BH always get players then they want to leave at the first chance they get,is it BH is it the system, it must b something. Ucla will never when a championship as long as BH is coach cause no1 with any kind of talent what’s to stay.Time to find a new coach who who can recruit and players don’t mind staying pass 1-2 years

  • Shawnymoe

    Th thanks for a gd 2 years I hope ur not making a mistake leaving early.Now why is it that BH always get players then they want to leave at the first chance they get.Is it BH or the system, it must b something. Ucla will never when a championship as long as BH is coach cause no1 with any kind of talent what’s to stay.Time to find a new coach who who can recruit and players don’t mind staying pass 1-2 years.

  • 12iso

    Yup, that’s exactly what Ben needs to do; stop recruiting guys that are good, we need to forego NBA talent and get a bunch of 3-star guys that will stay 4 years, 5 with a redshirt. Proven key to success.

  • bruwin5931

    I want to wish Tyler the best of luck going forward in his basketball career. Although I wanted him to stay one more year, I hope he has a long and productive career in the NBA.

  • Anonymous

    With all the talent that has emerged in the NCAA tournament, I don’t think the draft is going to be anywhere near as weak as Honeycutt thinks. He ain’t ready and I agree with Santi…Start getting your passport ready. Maybe he can find a job selling cars in Vegas.

  • anonymously

    according to nbadraft.net they are reporting that malcolm lee is leaving for the draft too..

  • Rob M

    You guys are crazy. You want CBH to recruit the best players out there (meaning: they are talented enough to make it to the NBA) but you also expect him to make them stay all four years too?! Seriously?! Nevermind that even 4star guys dream of making the Leap and would leave in a heartbeat if given a chance. You’d hope that a kid might listen to CBH to stay and improve (skills and draft position), but it sounds like the kid made up his mind already.

    I don’t think ANY of them should leave this year, but its unreasonable to put it on CBH for a teenager’s decision to try for a million $ lottery ticket. It really is too bad though… if everyone came back, its likely we are…
    a top 10 team,
    a final four/champion contender,
    TH probably goes in the top15 picks (in a much stronger draft),
    Lee/Smith are strong possibilities for first round,
    Nelson goes early second round, then…

    we start all over again and hope that Lamb/the Wears/Powell are good enough to keep it going.

    As for next year, I hope someone new can step up and hit the 3.

  • BSKB

    TH will be picked halfway into the second round, if not later. He’s just not ready and did nothing to improve his case in the NCAA tourney. For any other Bruins considering leaving early because of the weak draft class, if that’s your best argument, you aren’t NBA material.

  • anon

    We are going to be stuck in cycle for a long time. Every year our best 1-2 players will leave early instead of waiting for one more year and going on a run in the tourney. So irritating. I miss guys like Arron, Luc and Collison.

  • BigDbruin

    So let me get this right: If you were a 20 yr old business major at a prestigous university on a academic scholarship and were offered a guaranteed position with a major corporation that paid you 3-5 million annually, your loyalty to that university would prevent you taking the position?

    Seriously!

  • ucla-of-the rockies

    Fact is, TH is far more ready than Jrue or Ariza ever were when they left. Can you blame him? Be thankful the cupboard is still more than full — actually overflowing — w/his departure.
    Late 1st round. Not bad for a guy under EVERYONE’s radar coming out of high school and plagued with pre-freshman injuries that limited him from even lifting weights for months.
    Bruin fans: We still have plenty to look forward to: a pre-season Top-10 ranking and a very good shot at hanging banner #12 in a refurbished Pauley.
    Now, about that season-long road trip next year …

  • PUSC 3

    Good luck Tyler. You made the right decision, go make that money and if it doesn’t work out, you can always come back and finish your degree.

  • UB (Ultimate Bruin)

    @ BigD. Different scenario bud. First, the interdependence of other students in the biz program is far less than BB teammates. And, most importantly, the fans and donors that PAY your free ride at a top University deserve a return on their investment.

  • spedjones

    I always love the “he did nothing this year” comments. Remember Jrue? He really did do nothing and look at him now. Face it – everyone here would jump at the chance TH has right now. Saying otherwise is just plain BS.

  • Semi-Pro

    Which sounds like the better option?

    1. Improve and develop your game while getting paid thousands upon thousands of dollars by a professional basketball team, be able to instantly improve your family’s livelihood, and never have to worry about classes, grades or finals again.

    OR

    2. Improve and develop your game while getting paid absolutely nothing, on a team that even when they play well can’t sell out their own building. A building which, by the way, they won’t even be playing in all season.

    Sounds like a no-brainer to me. He’d be an idiot NOT to leave when he KNOWS he’s going to be drafted. Premier basketball players don’t owe their schools anything. Schools make WAY more money off their players than the value of the scholarships the players receive.

  • post move

    If UCLA had a real first round draft pick,, they beat Florida in the tourney