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UCLA’s Jules Bernard entering NBA draft while preserving option to return

UCLA's Jules Bernard dribbles.
UCLA’s Jules Bernard dribbles during the first half against North Carolina in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament on March 25 in Philadelphia.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)
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Jaime Jaquez Jr. is coming back to UCLA and Peyton Watson and Jake Kyman are leaving.

Jules Bernard? It could go either way.

The senior guard announced Tuesday on Instagram he will enter the NBA draft while retaining his ability to return to college in case he wants to use the extra season of eligibility granted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bernard, who averaged 12.8 points and 4.7 rebounds last season, is not listed on most mock draft boards but could improve his standing if he secures an invitation to the draft combine next month in Chicago or workouts for individual teams. He has until 8:59 p.m. PDT on June 1 to withdraw his name from draft consideration and preserve his college eligibility.

“I’m super excited to start this process,” Bernard wrote, “and I’m looking forward to taking steps toward achieving my dreams.”

UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez, who played a pivotal role in the Bruins’ NCAA tournament runs the last two seasons, announces he will return for the 2022-23 season.

April 18, 2022

One of UCLA’s most improved players since his arrival, the 6-foot-7 Bernard earned praise from coach Mick Cronin as one of the nation’s top wing players while often being overlooked, even on his own team. He’s increased his scoring in three seasons under Cronin and ranked third on the team last season, trailing only Jaquez and Johnny Juzang.

“Jules and I are in constant communication about his process,” Cronin said in a statement. “We are supporting Jules every way that we can, and we are excited for him to go through his evaluation and workout process over the next month. He has been a great Bruin and has improved as a player every season at UCLA. Should Jules decide to play as a super senior, we would be absolutely thrilled to have him back in Westwood.”

The Bruins still are waiting to learn whether guards Tyger Campbell and Juzang and post players Myles Johnson and Cody Riley will return. College players have until Sunday night to submit paperwork to make themselves eligible for the draft.

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