April 11, 2019 / 7:48 PM / 2 months ago

Draft notebook: Texas freshman Hayes declares for NBA draft

Texas Longhorns freshman Jaxson Hayes has declared for the NBA draft and will hire an agent, the school announced Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Mar 9, 2019; Austin, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns forward Jaxson Hayes (10) dunks over TCU Horned Frogs forward Kouat Noi (12) and center Kevin Samuel (21) in the second half at Frank Erwin Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports

“I have always dreamed about playing in the NBA. Now that I have the chance to realize that dream, I would like to pursue that opportunity,” Hayes said in a statement.

The 6-foot-11 forward averaged 10 points and 5.0 rebounds in his only season with the Longhorns. He started 21 of 32 games and shot 72.8 percent from the floor.

The Big 12 Freshman of the Year is a potential lottery pick, according to several draft outlets. ESPN ranks him as the No. 9 prospect.

—LSU freshman guard Javonte Smart announced on social media that he will enter the draft, joining teammates Naz Reid, Skylar Mays and Tremont Waters.

Smart averaged 11.1 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists in his lone year in Baton Rouge.

LSU sat Smart for the regular-season finale following the suspension of coach Will Wade over allegations he was linked to the NCAA’s pay-for-play scandal. It has been speculated that Wade was part of a scheme to pay to gain Smart’s commitment to LSU.

—Stanford sophomore guard KZ Okpala announced he is entering the NBA draft.

The first-team all-Pac-12 selection averaged a team-high 16.9 points with 5.7 rebounds in 29 games for the Cardinal in 2018-19. He scored a career-high 30 points in an 84-81 win at Cal on Feb. 3.

“It’s exciting to apply what I have learned so far as I begin this journey and see where it takes me,” said Okpala, who is ranked No. 26 on ESPN’s list of the top 100 draft prospects.

—Houston guard Armoni Brooks will declare for the NBA draft and test the process, Stadium sports network reported.

Brooks, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior, averaged 13.4 points and a team-leading 6.3 rebounds per game this season for the Cougars, who finished 33-4 and lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Brooks scored 20 points in the defeat.

As a sophomore in 2017-18, he was named American Athletic Conference Sixth Man of the Year.

“Armoni is somebody who has had tangible progress every year,” assistant coach Kellen Sampson told the Houston Chronicle during the NCAA Tournament. “Every year he made marked improvement to figure out how to rebound or on how to make some plays for himself. He’s on a natural progression. He is a really good player, but he’s finding his way to becoming that best player next year. He will be at the top of scouting reports.”

—Duke freshman forward Cam Reddish announced on Instagram that he is declaring for the NBA draft, and a school spokeman confirmed he will hire an agent.

“This season was epic, and I am so thankful to have had Duke as a part of the foundation that prepared me to play at the next level,” Reddish wrote. “Never forget — I am a Blue Devil for life. Proud to announce that I will be entering the 2019 NBA Draft.”

The 6-8 Reddish averaged 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 29.7 minutes per game for the Blue Devils, who lost 68-67 to Michigan State in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. After fellow freshman RJ Barrett announced his intentions Wednesday to enter the draft, only Zion Williamson remains among Duke’s Big Three to declare.

—Field Level Media

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