(LAWRENCE, Kan.) — The Kansas Jayhawks have now lost two star freshman to the NBA. On Wednesday, Joel Embiid declared for the NBA draft joining teammate Andrew Wiggins as rookies who will be leaving college after one season.
“I just want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, the fans, my mentor, everybody that has helped me through my journey,” said Embiid at a press conference at Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Embiid averaged 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while also swatting 2.6 blocks per contest. His 72 blocks were a freshman record for Kansas as the 7’0″ center was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
A stress fracture in his back shortened Embiid’s rookie season, forcing him to miss both the Big 12 and NCAA Tournament. The Jayhawks only won one game in both tournaments without Embiid. Despite the injury, the Cameroon native is still projected to be a top three pick in June’s draft.
“I don’t think anybody could say Jo is making a poor decision by entering the draft,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “Under almost all circumstances this would be the obvious choice to make.”
Both Embiid and Wiggins are expected to be lottery picks in the NBA draft, joining Duke’s Jabari Parker who has yet to make a decision on if he will return for his sophomore year.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Newswire
Jill Martin, CNN