MONDAY, 3:54pm: Looney will enter the draft, he and the school announced (hat tip to RealGM).
WEDNESDAY, 10:50am: UCLA freshman power forward Kevon Looney is planning to declare for this year’s draft and is close to an agreement with an agent, sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). He’s something of a polarizing prospect, having risen to No. 7 on Chad Ford’s ESPN.com rankings while Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress has him 20th.
The 6’9″, 19-year old is a raw talent who nonetheless averaged 9.2 rebounds in 30.9 minutes per game this year. He scored 11.6 points a night and while he displayed an accurate touch from the outside, hitting 41.5% of his three-pointers, he did so on only 1.5 such attempts per game. His impressive ball-handling and passing skills, rare qualities for a big man, helped him to a No.9 ranking when Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors compiled our latest Draft Prospect Power Rankings.
Looney was the 11th-rated prospect in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index coming out of high school, but the gap between projections before this season was even wider than it is now, as Ford had him eighth during the preseason while Givony listed him at No. 45. He became UCLA’s most well-regarded NBA prospect this year, and while the Bruins were a controversial selection for the NCAA Tournament, Looney pulled down double-digit rebounds in UCLA’s first two tournament games to help the team advance to the Sweet 16.