UCLA sophomore Johnny Juzang is entering the 2021 NBA draft, but will maintain his college eligibility and retain the option to return to school, his father told ESPN Tuesday.
Juzang, the No. 50 prospect in the ESPN 100 NBA draft rankings, was named second-team All-Conference in the Pac-12 after a productive season in which he averaged 16 points and 4.1 rebounds for UCLA, shooting 35% on 3-pointers. Juzang exploded in the NCAA tournament, scoring 137 points in six games, the second-highest figure in UCLA history after Gail Goodrich in 1965.
Juzang’s scoring prowess helped lead the No. 11-seeded Bruins from the First Four to the Final Four, elevating his standing significantly in the eyes of NBA talent evaluators. His best showing came in a heartbreaking overtime loss to Gonzaga in the national semifinals, posting 29 points on 18 field goal attempts and scoring several clutch baskets to keep the game in hand.
The 20-year-old Juzang is intriguing to NBA teams due to his combination of size, standing 6-foot-7, and shot-making ability. He proved to be a difficult matchup for college wings to handle in one-on-one situations with his ability to score with his back to the basket, elevate in mid-range spots, shoot off screens and make pullup 3-pointers.
He was one of the most improved players in the country after averaging just 2.9 points in 12 minutes per game as a freshman at Kentucky, leading him to transfer in the offseason to be closer to home.
The NBA draft will be conducted on July 29, and the league has scheduled its draft combine for June 21, featuring competitive 5-on-5 action “subject to public health conditions.”
Jonathan Givony is an NBA Draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service utilized by NBA, NCAA and International teams.