After leading UCLA to the Final Four, Johnny Juzang will withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his junior season. Juzang announced his decision on Twitter about an hour before the NCAA’s Wednesday deadline of midnight Eastern Time for early entrants to pull out of the draft and retain their eligibility.
“Going through the draft process has been an amazing experience,” he wrote. “I was blessed to connect with great people, learn and grow, and get a feel for life at the next level. I want to thank everyone who has helped me in this process including my family, trainers, school and especially my dad who helped me for countless hours!”
There was talk that Juzang might be a first-round pick after an outstanding performance in the NCAA tournament, but a disappointing showing at the combine hurt his status, according to Chad Ford (Twitter link), who speculates that he could be back in first-round consideration next year.
There’s more on last-minute draft decisions:
- Oral Roberts guard Max Abmas is also returning to school, according to Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Abmas posted a statement on Instagram calling the draft process “a great learning experience,” but he thinks he would benefit from another year of college. Abmas, ranked 48th on ESPN’s big board, led the nation in scoring at 24.5 PPG and was named Summit League Player of the Year. Givony notes that he had a poor showing at the combine, shooting 3 of 18 from the field in scrimmages, which may have influenced his choice.
- Most of the players who announced their decisions Wednesday opted to withdraw from the draft. Some exceptions are Georgia Tech’s Jose Alvarado (Twitter link from Jeff Goodman of Stadium), Howard’s Makur Maker (Twitter link from Jon Rothstein of CBS) and Saint Louis’ Jordan Goodwin (Twitter link).
- Among those returning to school for another season will be Central Florida’s C.J. Walker (Twitter link), Texas Tech’s Terrence Shannon Jr. (Twitter link), Wichita State’s Tyson Etienne (Twitter link), SMU’s Kendric Davis (Twitter link), Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr. (Twitter link), UCLA’s Cody Riley (Twitter link), USC’s Isaiah Mobley (Twitter link), Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. (Twitter link) and Kevin Obanor, who will transfer from Oral Roberts (Twitter link).