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UCLA

Moses Brown is leaving UCLA after one season to enter the NBA draft

Nick Rakocevic, Moses Brown
USC forward Nick Rakocevic, right, shoots as UCLA center Moses Brown defends during the second half of a Jan. 19 game.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

UCLA freshman center Moses Brown intends to make himself available for the NBA draft, according to a team spokesperson, becoming the third player to leave the Bruins since the end of last season.

Brown joins sophomores Kris Wilkes and Jaylen Hands, who recently announced they were also departing with remaining eligibility. Brown is not expected to return, though he has until May 29 to remove his name from draft consideration and retain his amateur status.

UCLA sophomore forward Chris Smith and redshirt freshman forward Cody Riley remain with the team and intend to come back next season. The return of the part-time starters will significantly enhance the Bruins’ depth under new coach Mick Cronin.

At 7 feet 2, Brown’s height alone makes him an intriguing NBA prospect. One NBA executive recently told The Times that Brown could be drafted in the first round if he wowed in a team workout.

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But Brown’s body of work in his first college season showed that he’s far from a polished product. After an opening four-game stretch in which he dominated overmatched opponents, Brown often appeared overwhelmed himself. He had no reliable post moves and was abysmal at the free-throw line, making only 35.2% of his attempts.

Brown averaged 9.7 points and a team-leading 8.3 rebounds per game, never fully living up to his billing as a McDonald’s All-American. He was strong defensively, averaging 1.9 blocks to finish fourth in the Pac-12 Conference. He was an honorable mention selection on the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.

Brown sat out all but the final play of UCLA’s buzzer-beating loss to Utah in February as punishment after the team announced he had been late to the morning shootaround.

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His departure leaves the Bruins with an open scholarship for next season.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

Twitter: @latbbolch


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