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De’Aaron Fox declares for draft, will sign agent

Fox led the Cats to an Elite Eight appearance and an SEC Championship. He’s now onto bigger and better things.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-Kentucky vs UCLA Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

We knew it was coming eventually.

De’Aaron Fox has declared that he will enter his name in the 2017 NBA Draft and hire an agent, effectively ending his career with the Kentucky Wildcats.

Fox averaged 16.7 points, 4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game this season while leading the Cats to a 32-6 record, an SEC Championship and an Elite Eight berth.

“First of all, I’m grateful for the unbelievable season we had,” Fox said, according to a UK Athletics press release this afternoon. “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.

“I want to thank my teammates for being on this ride with me as well as the seniors and specifically Zay (Isaiah Briscoe) for guiding me this season. It wouldn’t have been such a smooth transition from high school to college without their leadership.”

With a great defender in Isaiah Briscoe and great seniors who contributed in Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder, Fox had a great support system of older players around him.

“I’ve decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft and I will be signing with an agent. I think 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.

“Last but not least, I want to thank the Big Blue Nation. There is no other fan base like you in the country. I’ll miss playing in front of you, but I know you’ll continue to support me at the next level.”

When looking at the entire body of work, you could certainly argue that Fox was the best player on Kentucky’s team this year, despite the fact that Malik Monk grabbed the headlines. Fox certainly came on strong later in the year, averaging 22 points in the SEC Tournament and scoring a career-high 39 points in the Sweet 16 against the UCLA Bruins. He’s done nothing but help his draft stock in recent weeks, and John Calipari made sure to note that.

“De’Aaron’s speed, length and ability to pick up defensively from 94 feet set him apart from his peers,” Calipari said. “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. 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.”

De’Aaron Fox has been projected as high as the No. 5 overall pick in this year’s draft, and even in the latest projections he’s easily a top-10 pick, so it’s easy to see why he’s leaving.