Nine days after announcing his decision to stay at UCLA, leading scorer Jordan Adams will declare for the NBA draft.
A UCLA spokesperson confirmed the news late Saturday night. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the story.
Adams’ departure robs the Bruins of their top returning player, one that averaged 17.4 points and set a school-record 95 steals. After reaching the Sweet Sixteen in the first year under head coach Steve Alford, and for the first time since 2008, UCLA will return a roster that looks almost entirely different.
All-American point guard Kyle Anderson and reserve guard Zach LaVine had already declared for the draft last month. With the trio gone, UCLA loses 41.4 of its 81.2 points per game — a mark that ranked 11th in the NCAA.
But Anderson’s departure was solidified even before the season was over, and LaVine’s was expected and reported shortly after the Bruins’ season-ending loss to Florida. Adams’ is a dramatic about-face.
“I’ve had so much fun playing here at UCLA, and I’m really excited about the team we’re going to have next year,” Adams said in a statement on April 17. “Once the season ended, my family and I began carefully weighing all of my options. In the end, staying at UCLA for my junior year is a win-win situation. I’m glad that I went through the process, received constructive feedback and had time to reflect on what I truly want.
“I love being a Bruin. I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym and the weight room to get better, and I can’t wait for next season.”
Adams had been projected in some mock drafts as a low first-rounder. Since his announcement to stay, multiple players in the same range have decided to stay in school, including Kentucky’s twin guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison.
As for UCLA, the team now looks even lighter in the backcourt and on the wing. Although it brings in five-star forward Kevon Looney and four-star center Thomas Welsh, its top returning scorer will be rising senior Norman Powell — who scored 11.4 points per game but was most efficient in transition. Isaac Hamilton, a five-star prospect who sat out his freshman season after breaking a letter of intent with UTEP, also figures to play a significant role.
The Bruins will try and recruit Isaac’s brother, Daniel Hamilton, who signed grant-in-aid with national champion UConn but is free to go elsewhere.