Shortly after his UCLA Bruins fell to Kentucky in the Sweet 16, star freshman guard Lonzo Ball announced that Friday’s game would be his last as a college player, tweets Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. Ball will enter the 2017 NBA draft, and will be a candidate to be the first player off the board in June.
Ball, who is ranked as the No. 2 prospect in this year’s draft class by both DraftExpress and ESPN.com, averaged 14.7 PPG, 7.6 APG, and 1.9 SPG in his freshman year at UCLA. Although Markelle Fultz ranks ahead of him on most big boards, Ball is considered the better prospect by multiple NBA teams, and has certainly received more public hype lately, thanks to his outspoken father LaVar Ball.
On Friday night, Ball was outplayed by Wildcats star De’Aaron Fox, who figures to be a lottery pick three months from now as well. In a game that featured a handful of top prospects, Fox looked like the best player on the court, racking up 39 points. However, as Chad Ford of ESPN.com writes, Ball’s mediocre showing in the Sweet 16 won’t have much of an impact on his draft stock — he’s still a near-lock to be a top-three pick.
You can check out our full list of the early entrants for the 2017 draft right here.