DeAndre Daniels, a 6-foot-9 junior forward from Connecticut, announced Friday that he will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft while twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison of Kentucky said they have decided to play another year in college.
Daniels, who starred at Woodland Hills Taft High, had stellar performances during the Huskies’ run to the NCAA tournament title, averaging 16.7 points and 7.4 rebounds a game while shooting 48% from the field.
UConn announced that junior guard Ryan Boatright, who averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists last season, would return for his senior season.
“I just felt like this was the right time for me,” Daniels said in a statement released by UConn. “I sat down with my family and we discussed it and everyone agreed, but the final decision was still mine and it was hard. I had a great career at UConn and I wouldn’t change it for the world, and to go out on top like we did makes it even better.”
Daniels said he will complete his work for a sociology degree during the coming summers.
“DeAndre has made an enormous contribution to the success we have enjoyed at UConn, both on the court and in the classroom,” UConn Coach Kevin Ollie said. “Besides being an outstanding basketball player, he is a quality young man. We wholeheartedly support the decision he has made and wish him nothing but success as he moves ahead with his basketball career. He will always be part of our UConn family.”
Also entering the NBA draft will be 6-foot-10 sophomore center Mitch McGary of Michigan. McGary, who missed postseason play last season because of a back injury, was facing a one-year ban for a positive marijuana test.
Kentucky will be quite formidable next season with the 6-6 Harrison twins returning in the backcourt. The NCAA runner-up Wildcats already lost power forward Julius Randle and guard James Young, who both declared for the draft.
The Harrisons will rejoin highly regarded 7-foot centers Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein as well as forwards Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress to form what should be the preseason No. 1 team. That’s not to mention a recruiting class widely considered among the top three.
“I’m returning for my sophomore season because I want to win a national title,” Andrew Harrison said.
Added Aaron Harrison, who helped the Wildcats win three NCAA tournament games with last-minute shots, “Last year’s run was special, but we still have unfinished business.”