LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky freshman De'Aaron Fox will enter the NBA draft and hire an agent, becoming the first of several Wildcats underclassmen who could leave after reaching the Elite Eight this season.
The 6-foot-3 guard is a possible NBA lottery pick and was expected to make this move.
Fox said in a statement Monday he thinks "I've had a pretty good freshman season through the guidance of our coaching staff and I think it's time for me to live out my dream."
He scored a career-high 39 points against UCLA in the South Regional semifinals, the best by a freshman in NCAA Tournament history . Fox finished as Kentucky's second-leading scorer, averaging 16.7 points and leading the team in assists.
He also had Kentucky's second triple-double and first since December 1988 when he had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Arizona State last fall.
He made The Associated Press' and SEC coaches All-Southeastern Conference first team and earned Most Valuable Player honors at last month's SEC Tournament.
"De'Aaron came in here focused from day one, and to see his improvement from the beginning of the season to the end was special," coach John Calipari said.
"What you saw from De'Aaron over the last month and a half of the season I think is what NBA teams will get for the future."
Fox was emotional after the Wildcats lost the South Regional final 75-73 to top-seeded North Carolina on Luke Maye's last-second shot and initially brushed off questions about his future.
Eight days later he thanked many in his announcement, including sophomore backcourt mate Isaiah Briscoe who could join him in the June draft.
"I'm grateful for the unbelievable season we had," Fox said. "Although the ending didn't turn out how we wanted it to, this team came together as a family and we achieved things that a lot of people didn't think we could because we were so young. ... It wouldn't have been such a smooth transition from high school to college without their leadership."