As expected, Texas freshman center Jaxson Hayes is entering the NBA Draft.
Hayes made the announcement Thursday, and is projected as a lottery pick. The Big 12 freshman of the year averaged 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2.22 blocks per game in his lone season with the Longhorns.
“First, I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to play this game I love so much,” Hayes said in a statement. “Next, I would like to thank my family, the entire Texas coaching staff and my teammates for helping me get to this point in my career. I’m so appreciative of coach Shaka Smart for pushing me every day to improve and mature, both on the basketball court and as a person. I would also like to thank everyone else who has helped support me. Lastly, thank you to all the Longhorn fans and the people of Cincinnati who have been there cheering me on the whole way.
“With that being said, 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. I am declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft and will be hiring an agent.”
Hayes becomes the latest one-and-done big man for Smart and Texas, joining Jarrett Allen (2017) and Mo Bamba (2018).
Hayes sustained a left knee injury in the Big 12 tournament, sidelining him during Texas’ run to the NIT championship. But the injury did not require surgery and he is making a full recovery.
“I’m really proud of Jaxson for the tremendous attitude he’s demonstrated all year and the unprecedented growth that he’s made,” Smart said in a statement. “He’ll always be a part of our Longhorn basketball family, and we look forward to supporting him in the next steps of his journey.”