UCLA’s Kevon Looney officially declares for the NBA draft

Kevon Looney has officially declared for the NBA draft, becoming the third player in the last three years to leave UCLA after his freshman season.

A five-star recruit out of Milwaukee, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds and made the All-Pac-12 second team. He sustained a facial fracture during the Pac-12 Tournament, but continued playing with a mask during the Bruins’ Sweet 16 run.

He is projected by many NBA mock drafts as a potential lottery pick.

“This was a really tough decision for me because there were so many positives both ways,” Looney said in a statement. “My time at UCLA has been unbelievable, and I know I’ll be a Bruin forever. But playing in the NBA is a dream I’ve had for so long, and this feels like the right time to pursue that dream and make the transition to the next level.

“Coach Alford, our whole staff and all my teammates have been nothing but supportive of me, my family and my decision. I’m especially grateful to Coach Alford for everything he has done for me since I first stepped on campus last June. Without a doubt, coming to UCLA is the best decision I ever made, and I want everyone to understand that. I hope our fans will continue to support me at the next level as I continue my journey.”

Real GM had reported last week that Looney was close to reaching an agreement with an agent.

Looney led all freshmen nationally with 15 double-doubles this season, and was second in the conference among all players in both rebounding and double-doubles. He is by far the most touted recruit that head coach Steve Alford has reeled in since arriving at UCLA.

The Bruins produced three first-round picks last year in freshman Zach LaVine and sophomores Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams. In 2013, after former head coach Ben Howland’s final season in Westwood, Shabazz Muhammad became the 14th overall pick following his freshman campaign.

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— Post-season thoughts on the state of UCLA basketball

  • Bob Wriedt

    Congratulations, Kevon!

  • xtracool32

    I absolutely hate that NBA one year rule. The only people that like it are Kentucky fans.

    • MPPBruin

      Definitely. It’s hard to say that this has improved the game at large. Either let these guys jump straight out of high school or keep them in college for an extra year.

      • xtracool32

        If it were a 2 year rule it would be great. There have been “so many” highly touted players, who have come to ucla who have only stayed 1 year. Being a bruin is something special, not a short Segway to the NBA, like Kentucky.

        • MPPBruin

          I don’t really think the one year rule serves anyone well. The college game is clearly hurting. Players would be better off going directly from high school to the NBA. NBA would rather have one year in college to get a better gauge of a player’s development, but wouldn’t 2 years be better? Maybe they want more time with them in their development program, which might be them playing on the NBA team, the D-League or sitting on the bench.

  • MPPBruin

    Good luck to Kevon. If he’s going to be a lottery pick then he should make the jump.

    • 92104bruinfan

      He’s projected anywhere from a late lotto pick to mid-first round. With the average rookie salary over a mil and likely to jump once the new NBA TV deal kicks in, I can’t blame him for leaving. Good kid and hope he comes back to finish his degree as well as represent UCLA well in the Association and in his future community. Go Bruins!

  • commentar

    One and Dones are fine. You play for UCLA, you’re a bruin. You give a year (all it takes is one) to help bring us to the promised land.

    • MPPBruin

      My sense is that you can take one or two, but can’t base your program that way. By in large, it just isn’t sustainable. It’s tough to restart every year.

      • 92104bruinfan

        Agreed. An optimal mix of 3-4 year players with a sprinkling of 1 or 2 one-and-done players usually bodes well. Easier said than done given the varying levels of development and team chemistry but it is what it is in this day and age. Go Bruins!

  • Mark

    No, you’re not a Bruin for life.

    • commentar

      haha at the very least he was a bruin for 1 year of his life

  • j metaphor

    No, Kevon, I don’t buy the Bruin for life thing. You were a tourist on a short trip to paradise. I don’t blame you for taking the money, it’s too much to pass up but you don’t get to make a one season cameo appearance and have anyone but yourself call you a Bruin.
    That being said, thanks for beating the snot out of Clown College three times during your visit. One more thing; pay attention when they teach the defensive classes at your next stop.

    • samollie

      Easy, if he’s proud to be a Bruin then he’s a Bruin. Is Kevin Love not a Bruin then? The more pro athletes representing us the better.