Breakout NCAA tournament star Johnny Juzang pulls out of NBA draft in favor of returning to UCLA Bruins

UCLA guard Johnny Juzang, the breakout star of the 2021 NCAA match, announced Wednesday night he was withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to the Bruins.

“Likely through the draft procedure has been an awesome knowledge. I was blessed to link with good persons, study and grow, and get a experience for life at the up coming level. I want to thank everybody who has aided me in this procedure including my spouse and children, trainers, college, and primarily my dad who served for numerous several hours!” Juzang posted to Twitter. “Westwood, I can not wait to go to war! We’ve received a workforce whole of warriors and you can find nobody I’d rather fight beside. With Coach Cronin and our personnel, I’m quite fired up for this period. Let us do some thing distinctive!”

Juzang assisted guide UCLA on a Cinderella operate in the NCAA match in March, successful five online games to go from Very first 4 to Remaining 4. He experienced 23 points in the opening get about Michigan State, adopted by 27 factors towards BYU. He was at his very best in the ultimate two video games, a win above Michigan and a decline to Gonzaga. Juzang went for 28 details in the victory above the Wolverines, and his 29 factors approximately led UCLA to an upset of the leading-seeded Bulldogs in the Last Four.

In the Bruins’ 6 NCAA match video games, Juzang averaged 22.8 points and shot 50.9% from the subject. His 137 points had been the next-maximum NCAA tournament total in UCLA historical past.

On the period, the 6-foot-6 taking pictures guard averaged 16. factors and 4.1 rebounds.

Even with the breakout postseason, Juzang was only projected as a late second-round pick in the NBA draft. He was rated No. 53 in ESPN’s newest draft rankings.

Juzang, a former ESPN 100 prospect, started off his profession at Kentucky. He averaged 2.9 details in 28 games as a freshman in Lexington.

“We are extremely excited Johnny will be returning to UCLA. Johnny was an crucial addition to our workforce final calendar year,” UCLA mentor Mick Cronin stated in a assertion. “He is a wonderful participant and an superb teammate. Of course, we experienced a exclusive operate in March and Johnny, participating in on a sprained ankle, was outstanding together with his teammates. We are all excited to get back to operate and make on our good results.”

Juzang’s return very likely cements UCLA as a preseason top-5 team for the 2021-22 marketing campaign. Cronin returns each participant from the Bruins’ NCAA match operate, although also incorporating five-star prospect Peyton Watson, ESPN 100 guard Will McClendon and Rutgers graduate transfer Myles Johnson. Chris Smith, who skipped the 2nd 50 percent of the season, opted to depart for the NBA draft, though Cody Riley declared Wednesday he planned to return to UCLA.