By Lauren Kirschman / The News Tribune
Washington sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell announced Sunday that he’s entering the 2019 NBA Draft.
The Pac-12 Player of the Year, Nowell averaged 16.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists this season. He shot 50.2 percent from the field and 44.0 percent from the 3-point line.
Nowell made the announcement on Twitter. He wrote, in part: “After talking with my Mother, family, teammates and coaching staff, I have decided to enter the 2019 NBA Draft. I want to thank everyone, especially the city of Seattle, for your support. I hope you all will continue to support me through my professional career. I will always be a Dawg for life.”
Due to rule changes, Nowell can sign with an agent and still return to UW for his junior season as long as he requests an evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. He has until May 29, 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA combine, to make the decision to return or stay in the draft.
“This is a great opportunity for Jaylen to continue to pursue his dreams of one day playing professionally,” UW head coach Mike Hopkins said in a statement. “It’s an amazing honor and achievement for him. When he chose to stay with us two years ago and come to the University of Washington, we have seen him grow every single day, both on and off the court.
“Our staff could not be prouder of what he has already accomplished here at UW and we will be here throughout the whole process to help in any way we can.”
NBAdraft.net lists Nowell as the No. 39 player in the draft and projects him as the No. 39 pick. ESPN doesn’t list Nowell in its top 100.
The quickest player in UW history to reach 600, 700, 800, 900 and 1,000 points, Nowell led the Huskies in scoring the past two seasons. Before UW’s NCAA Tournament game against Utah State, senior Matisse Thybulle said Nowell had become a more well-rounded player.
“He thinks (through) the game at a way higher level,” Thybulle said. “He makes everyone around him a lot better now. Just to be able to see how far he’s come from that first year in just one year really has been really impressive.”