UCLA’s new basketball coach will have to find a new leading scorer.
Sophomore forward Kris Wilkes announced Wednesday that he was hiring an agent and declaring for the NBA draft, ending the college career of a prolific scorer on teams that largely struggled to fulfill their promise.
“Ever since I was a little kid,” Wilkes wrote in a tweet declaring his intentions, “my dream has been to play in the NBA.”
Wilkes’ post included pictures of him smiling next to teammate Prince Ali after Wilkes’ game-winning shot against Notre Dame in December as well as pictures next to Bruins coaches Steve Alford and Murry Bartow.
“To everyone at UCLA, especially to my teammates and coaches, I’m incredibly grateful for all your love and support these past two years,” Wilkes wrote. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me, and I will forever be a Bruin!”
Wilkes was UCLA’s top scorer last season, averaging 17.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game on the way to being selected second-team All-Pac-12. But the Bruins finished 17-16 and did not qualify for the NCAA tournament one season after being one of the last teams selected and losing to St. Bonaventure in a play-in game.
Some mock drafts have projected Wilkes as being selected among the final picks in the first round.