To the surprise of no one, Canadian freshman sensation Jamal Murray announced Friday he will forego his final three years of eligibility at the University of Kentucky and enter the NBA Draft.
Murray will hire an agent, meaning he cannot return to school.
Murray, the projected No. 6 pick according to DraftExpress, averaged 20.0 points per game, which is the most by a player at the school under seventh-year head coach John Calipari. He is the 17th one-and-done under Calipari.
"He wants to be the best player that ever lived, and that's the path he's on," Roger Murray said as he sat to his son's right at the table.
"After the loss to Indiana (in the second round of the NCAA Tournament), I had a feeling I did want to stay," Murray said. "Obviously, you want to come back, and you want to get revenge, and you want to play harder than you did before, but this is the right decision. My family and I came to the conclusion that it's the best option for me to leave for the draft."
Friday's press conference comes more than a week after Calipari announced on Twitter that all of his eligible players, walk-ons included, would submit their names for the June 23 NBA Draft.
A new rule in place beginning this year states that any underclassman can enter the draft and attend the NBA Draft Combine while still maintaining his eligibility as long as he does not retain an agent. In order to remain eligible, players have to withdraw from the draft within 10 days of the combine, which runs May 11-15.
One thing to keep an eye is whether or not Murray will play for Canada this summer at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in the Philippines. The winner of the six-team event will qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The potential problem lies in the fact that Olympic qualifying runs July 5-10, which poses a conflict with NBA Summer League. It remains to be seen whether or not Murray's future NBA front office would allow him to play for the national team, as opposed to playing at Summer League.
Canada was without Murray last summer at FIBA Americas, where it finished third and without an Olympic spot.
The 19-year-old had a monster Pan American Games last summer in helping the Canadians to a silver medal. The run to silver included a semifinal win over the United States in which Murray scored all of his 22 points between the fourth quarter and overtime.
Freshman big man Skal Labissiere (No. 10) and sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis (No. 20) all appear on the latest DraftExpress mock draft for 2016. The 2017 DraftExpress mock contains former Roselle Catholic standout Isaiah Briscoe (No. 43), a freshman guard.
Lasbissiere was at one time the projected No. 1 overall pick, but his struggles this season in Lexington contributed to his stock falling.
Conversely, Ulis' stock has skyrocketed of late. The Chicago product was a projected second-round pick for much of the season until a late-season surge propelled him into the first round.