Top NCAA Basketball players declare for NBA draft

NCAA Basketball

FILE – In this March 18, 2015, file photo, the NCAA logo is displayed at center court as work continues at The Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, for the NCAA college basketball tournament. The NCAA took a significant step toward allowing all Division I athletes to transfer one time without sitting out a season of competition. A plan to change the waiver process is expected to be presented to the Division I Council in April, 2020. If adopted, new criteria would go into effect for the 2020-21 academic year and be a boon for athletes in high-profile sports such as football and men’s and women’s basketball. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

Georgia’s Edwards announces plans to enter NBA draft

FILE – In this Feb. 19, 2020, file photo, Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, right, and forward Mike Peake celebrate after an NCAA college basketball game against Auburn in Athens, Ga. Edwards was selected to the Associated Press All-SEC first team announced Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Edwards was also named the AP SEC Newcomer of the Year. (AP Photo/John Amis, File )

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards has announced his plans to enter the NBA draft.

The decision was expected. Edwards was one of the nation’s top recruits last season and is projected to be one of the top picks in the draft.

A 6-foot-5 guard, he led the nation’s freshmen with his average of 19.1 points per game and 5.2 rebounds.

Edwards announced his decision with a statement on his Twitter feed.

He says “Georgia will always be my home but I am ready to take my game to the next level.” 

Duke sophomore point guard Tre Jones declares for NBA draft

FILE – In this Feb. 8, 2020, file photo, Duke guard Tre Jones drives to the basket against North Carolina guard Leaky Black (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C. Tre Jones was selected to the Associated Press All-ACC team selected Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke sophomore Tre Jones says he will enter the NBA draft.

The point guard was named to the third team of The Associated Press All-America team on Friday after being named Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year by the league and runner-up for the same award from the AP.

Jones averaged 16.2 points and 6.4 assists for the Blue Devils, the highlight being his buzzer-beating shot off his own intentionally missed free throw to force overtime in a wild comeback win at North Carolina on Feb. 8.

In a statement released by the school Saturday, Jones said his goal was to win a national championship and he had thought about “what if” in light of the NCAA Tournament being canceled due to the spread of the coronavirus. But Jones said he appreciated “the amazing experiences and relationships” from two years with the Blue Devils, who reached an NCAA regional final in his freshman year.

In a statement, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called Jones “the heart and soul of our program” over his two seasons and “such a pleasure to coach.”

Team spokesman Mike DeGeorge said Saturday that Jones has not yet hired an agent.

Syracuse’s Hughes, top ACC scorer, to enter NBA draft

FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2020, file photo, Syracuse forward Elijah Hughes, right, shoots over Duke center Vernon Carey Jr. during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Syracuse, N.Y. Hughes was selected to the Associated Press All-ACC team selected Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Syracuse forward Elijah Hughes is entering the NBA draft. Hughes led the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring this season.

He made the announcement Saturday on Instagram. Hughes had one year of college eligibility remaining.

He averaged 19 points, along with five rebounds and over three assists per game.

Syracuse finished 18-14 in his second year as a starter after transferring from East Carolina. 

Minnesota center Daniel Oturu says he’s entering NBA draft

Minnesota’s Daniel Oturu (25) reacts during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Northwestern at the Big Ten Conference tournament, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, in Indianapolis. Minnesota won 74-57. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota center Daniel Oturu says he is declaring for the NBA draft after leading the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots as a sophomore.

Oturu made the announcement with a letter to fans on Instagram, saying he planned to hire an agent.

The 6-foot-10 Oturu averaged 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game this season.

He was second in the conference in scoring and his 56.3% shooting percentage led the Big Ten.

The native of Woodbury, Minnesota, also was selected for the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team.

USC’s Onyeka Okongwu declares for NBA draft after 1 season

FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2020, file photo, Southern California forward Onyeka Okongwu dunks the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford in Los Angeles. Okongwu was selected to the Associated Press All Pac-12 team selected Tuesday, March 10, 2020.(AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California’s Onyeka Okongwu has declared for the NBA draft after one season.

Okongwu set the school record for blocks by a freshman and was named to the Pac-12’s All-Conference first team and All-Freshman team.

He signed with an agent this week and announced his plans on social media.

The 6-foot-9 forward from Chino, California, is projected to be a lottery pick in the draft.

Okongwu says his freshman year was “nothing short of spectacular.”

He thanked the coaching staff, his teammates and his family.

Dayton’s Obi Toppin — AP player of year — heading to NBA

FILE – In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo, Dayton’s Obi Toppin (1) dunks as North Texas’ Javion Hamlet (3) looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Dayton, Ohio. Toppin was voted the AP men’s college basketball player of the year, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Dayton’s Obi Toppin is headed to the NBA after leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record and No. 3 ranking as a redshirt sophomore.

Toppin tweeted his decision Wednesday, a day after he was honored as The Associated Press’ men’s college basketball player of the year. The Flyers’ Anthony Grant was voted coach of the year.

“Thank you Flyer Nation. Love you always,” Toppin tweeted.

Toppin, who was a late bloomer in high school and didn’t get much recruiting notice, led the way in one of Dayton’s greatest seasons. He averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds and punctuated each game with a variety of dunks.

The 6-foot-9 forward was a unanimous choice for the AP All-America first team. He beat Iowa’s Luke Garza for player of the year honors.

Toppin shot 63% from the field, with his signature dunk moves gaining national attention. He also shot 39% from beyond the arc, showing a complete game that will likely make him a potential first-round pick in the NBA draft.

He became the face of a program that rallied a city shaken by tornadoes and a mass shooting in the past year.

The Flyers’ only losses came in overtime to Kansas and Colorado. They swept through the Atlantic 10 season and were positioned for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dayton’s No. 3 finish matched its best in the final AP poll — the Flyers also were No. 3 in 1956.

Toppin and Grant became only the second duo to sweep the AP’s top postseason awards in the last 40 seasons. St. Joseph’s Jameer Nelson and Phil Martelli won player and coach honors in 2004.

Three Dayton players have been first-round NBA picks: John Horan in 1955, Jim Paxson Sr. in 1956, and his son Jim in 1979. The elder Paxson was the third overall pick.

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