UConn center Andre Drummond is officially the Huskies’ first one-and-done. The school announced Friday that its freshman big man will, as expected, forgo his final three years of eligibility and enter the upcoming NBA Draft.
“My family and I feel that this is the right time for me to take the next step in my basketball career,” Drummond said in a statement. “It has always been a goal of mine to compete against the world’s best players and that is one of the big factors for me in making this decision.
“Although I was only at UConn for one year, the experience I gained playing against the best competition at the college level greatly helped me prepare for what I will face as I pursue a career as a professional.”
The 6-foot-10 Drummond is expected to be a lottery pick in the draft, perhaps as high as No. 2, when it takes place on June 28 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
“Andre is a developing player with unlimited potential and his projected position in the draft is as good as almost any player I’ve ever had,” UConn coach Jim Calhoun said in a statement. “Very few players get such a tremendous opportunity, and he’s got to take advantage of it.”
Technically a walk-on because of UConn’s unique scholarship limitations, Drummond played in all 34 of the Huskies’ games this season, the last 30 as a starter. He averaged 10.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. He shot 53.8 percent from the field, though only 29.5 percent from the line.
Drummond, who was selected to the Big East All-Rookie Team, had 10 double-doubles during the season, a record for a UConn freshman under Calhoun.
“I really appreciate the time and effort that coach Calhoun and the whole coaching staff at UConn put in to help me improve my game,” Drummond said. “I also want to thank our tremendous Husky fans and my teammates. I have developed strong relationships at UConn that will be part of my life forever.”
Sophomore Jeremy Lamb, who declared his availability for the NBA Draft earlier this week, and Drummond become the 14th and 15th UConn players under Calhoun to leave school early to enter the draft. Of the 13 before Lamb and Drummond, all but one (Khalid El-Amin early second) was drafted in the first round and 10 were lottery picks.
“Andre came here because he wanted to play for the state school and he showed a great deal of loyalty to our program and to the state itself,” Calhoun said. “Andre and his family have been great people to deal with. Naturally, we’re sad to see him go, but we wish him nothing but great successes in the future.”
Drummond says he’d like to come back to UConn and earn his degree.
“I truly enjoyed my whole college experience and I hope to return in the future to earn my degree,” Drummond said. “As a kid from Connecticut, playing basketball at UConn in front of hometown fans for me was a dream come true.”