For the third time in as many years, a Texas Longhorns freshman big man is NBA-bound following his first season on the Forty Acres, with forward Jaxson Hayes becoming the latest one-and-done lottery prospect on Thursday after announcing his decision to enter the 2019 NBA Draft.
“First, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to play this game I love so much,” Hayes said in statement from the school. “Next, I would like to thank my family, the entire Texas coaching staff and my teammates for helping me get to this point in my career. I’m so appreciative of Coach Shaka Smart for pushing me every day to improve and mature, both on the basketball court and as a person. I would also like to thank everyone else who has helped support me. Lastly, thank you to all the Longhorn fans and the people of Cincinnati who have been there cheering me on the whole way.”
“With that being said, I have always dreamed about playing in the NBA,” Hayes continued. “Now that I have the chance to realize that dream, I would like to pursue that opportunity. I am declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft and will be hiring an agent.”
“I’m really proud of Jaxson for the tremendous attitude he’s demonstrated all year and the unprecedented growth that he’s made,” said Texas head coach Shaka Smart, per the school. “He’ll always be a part of our Longhorn Basketball family, and we look forward to supporting him in the next steps of his journey.”
The news of Hayes’ decision to depart from Texas following his debut season was expected as of late, though that wasn’t always the case.