After a great NCAA college basketball season, two of college basketball’s best young talents have announced they will be going pro. Earlier today, now former Duke Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor and former Wisconsin Badgers standout Sam Dekker have declared they will be entering the 2015 NBA draft.
Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor will enter the 2015 NBA Draft, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Thursday. Okafor, a consensus first team All-America selection, joins Corey Maggette (1999), Luol Deng (2004), Kyrie Irving (2011), Austin Rivers (2012) and Jabari Parker (2014) as Blue Devil freshmen to enter the NBA Draft after just one season of college basketball. The five previous freshmen early entrees were each selected among the first 13 players in their respective drafts, including Irving, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.
“What a great decision!” said Krzyzewski. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Jahlil and he has earned it. Obviously, he has done an incredible job here at Duke and he will always be a part of our Duke basketball family. We could not be happier for him and his family.”
Okafor, the 17th consensus first team All-America selection under Krzyzewski, helped lead Duke to a 35-4 record and the program’s fifth NCAA Championship. He averaged 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 blocks per game while collecting numerous honors including National Freshman of the Year and ACC Player & Freshman of the Year. Okafor is the first freshman in league history to be named ACC Player of the Year.
Junior forward Sam Dekker announced Friday that he will forego his final season of eligibility at the University of Wisconsin and enter the 2015 NBA Draft. The draft will be held on June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“These past three years have been the best, most memorable years of my life,” Dekker said. “Growing up in the state and being able to wear Wisconsin across my chest has been a dream come true.
“After lots of thoughts and prayers, I’ve decided that it is in my best interest to enter the NBA Draft at this time. It is difficult to leave Madison and the only state I’ve called home, but I’m excited for the next chapter of my life.”
A native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Dekker appeared in 113 games with 81 starts in his career at UW, finishing 15th in school history with 1,363 points. Combined with his 569 career rebounds, Dekker became just the eighth Badger to tally 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his first three seasons.
Dekker averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 2014-15, helping lead the Badgers to a school-record 36 wins, Big Ten regular season and tournament championships and the 2015 National Championship Game. A second-team All-Big Ten selection and finalist for the Julius Erving Award, Dekker reached double-figure scoring in 27 of the final 31 games of the season, including 23 and 27 points in back-to-back NCAA tournament wins over North Carolina and Arizona.
The 2015 West Regional Most Outstanding Player, Dekker tallied 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting a team-high 57.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from 3-point range during the NCAA tournament.
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