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Kentucky freshman BJ Boston declares for NBA Draft

Kentucky guard Brandon Boston Jr. (3) shoots the ball against LSU at Rupp Arena on Jan. 23,...
Kentucky guard Brandon Boston Jr. (3) shoots the ball against LSU at Rupp Arena on Jan. 23, 2021, in Lexington, Ky.(Source: Kentucky Athletics)
Published: Mar. 20, 2021 at 3:06 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball guard Brandon Boston Jr. will pursue a career in the NBA. The freshman announced Saturday he will declare for the 2021 NBA Draft and plans to forgo his remaining collegiate eligibility.

“It was an honor for me to play for the Big Blue Nation this season and to suit up for one of the best coaches in the country,” Boston said. “I want to thank Coach Cal, the staff, and my teammates for pushing me day in and day out to be the best player I could be. I’m proud of the progress I made on the court and off it this season. I’m disappointed in the results because we really wanted to win for the best fans in the country.

“I want to thank my family, friends and my brothers for life for always supporting me. That support, along with my experience at Kentucky, has given me the confidence to take this next step. Being a professional basketball player has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I’m excited for this opportunity and I know that I will have the foundation to handle anything that comes my way because of my time as a Wildcat. With that being said, I will be declaring for the 2021 NBA Draft.”

Boston is the third player from the 2020-21 Wildcats’ roster to declare for the 2021 NBA Draft. Freshman Isaiah Jackson declared on Wednesday, but he has left the option open to return to school. Like Boston, freshman Terrence Clarke declared on Friday and is forgoing his remaining collegiate eligibility with an intent to remain in the draft. Under NCAA rules, players sign with an NCAA-certified agent, submit paperwork to receive evaluations from the NBA and participate – if invited – in the NBA Draft Combine.

“I am proud of the growth and development Brandon underwent this season,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Brandon would be the first to tell you this season wasn’t easy. It was tough and filled with challenges. But what impressed me with him is how he handled any adversity thrown his way like a professional would — with maturity and with a work ethic that some of our best guys in that league have had. Breaking his finger over the summer set him back but he just kept working. BJ got so much better as the season went on and has only scratched the surface of who he is going to become as a player. He has the mindset, the drive and the skillset to succeed in that league. BJ and his family know they have my full support and I look forward to watching him chase his dreams.”

Boston made 24 starts in 25 appearances for the Wildcats this season. He averaged a team-high-tying 11.5 points per game and his 4.5 rebounds per outing led the guards. The Norcross, Georgia, native paced the squad with 33 steals and had six games with three or more swipes.

Known for his ability to score on all three levels, Boston reached double figures in a team-high 17 games and had a pair of 20-point performances. Boston made particular strides from long range as the season wore on, draining 23 3-pointers over the final 12 games.

Boston scored a career-high 21 points with a career-best six 3s in the regular-season finale against South Carolina. He recorded 17 points in back-to-back outings against Arkansas and Auburn. He also posted a career-high four steals in the win over the Tigers. In his return to his home state, Boston scored 18 points at Georgia and followed that with 18 points, six boards, three assists, a block and a steal in the win over LSU.

Boston was the only guard on the team to record a double-double this season with 20 points and a career-best 10 rebounds against Richmond.

Since Calipari joined the Kentucky program for the 2009-10 season, UK has produced 41 NBA Draft picks over 11 seasons, far and away more than any other school. Included in the 41 are 31 first-rounders, three No. 1 overall picks and 21 lottery selections.

Of the 28 players at UK who have declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman seasons, 26 have been first-round picks (and all 28 have played in an NBA game). Calipari is 30 for 32 in that regard when including his players from Memphis.

Of the 66 players who have finished their college careers at Kentucky under Calipari (through the 2019-20 season), 41 were selected in the NBA Draft, a 62.1% success rate. Another six of those made the NBA, and the majority of the rest were walk-ons.

Calipari’s players are not only reaching the next level, they are succeeding when they do. Since 2010, eight of his players have garnered 26 All-Star selections. Derrick Rose (from Memphis) was named league MVP in 2011. Five of his players have been tabbed All-NBA (Rose, John Wall, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns), three have been named NBA Rookie of the Year (Rose, Tyreke Evans and Towns), and 14 players from Calipari’s first 10 teams at Kentucky have made the NBA All-Rookie teams.

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