UCLA’s basketball roster for next season faces further uncertainty after a second freshman decided Tuesday to enter his name into the NBA draft without hiring an agent.
Kris Wilkes will join Bruins teammate Jaylen Hands in soliciting feedback about his draft prospects before deciding whether to withdraw his name from consideration. Hands announced his decision last week. Not hiring an agent allows both players to preserve their eligibility to return to UCLA next season.
Wilkes’ decision could be even more pivotal for the Bruins’ fortunes. The small forward was the team’s second-leading scorer and one of its most consistent players as a freshman, averaging 13.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures in 26 of 33 games and made 35.2% of his three-pointers.
Wilkes is projected on some mock draft boards as a first-round pick, a potential enticement to opting for NBA riches over another year of college.
Wilkes’ return would give the Bruins a proven playmaker and a steadying influence amid the assured departures of senior Thomas Welsh and junior Aaron Holiday. Holiday recently announced he would hire an agent and forgo his final season of college eligibility.
UCLA’s roster next season is expected to include eight freshmen counting redshirt freshmen Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, who were suspended for the entire season after shoplifting from three stores during the team’s trip to China for its season opener against Georgia Tech.
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