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UK Basketball: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander declares for 2018 NBA Draft

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is ready to pursue his NBA dreams.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament Championship-Tennessee vs Kentucky Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has declared for the NBA Draft and will sign with an agent, foregoing his remaining eligibility at Kentucky. He announced the decision Monday live on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

Gilgeous-Alexander was the unexpected star that Kentucky turned out to desperately need. He came into the program as a four-star recruit who was expected to come off the bench, but he turned into the team’s second-leading scorer and top passer.

The Canadian phenom averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. He was the third-most efficient shooter, shooting at a clip of 48.5 percent from the field. He was also the only player on the team to shoot 40 percent or better from 3-point range.

Gilgeous-Alexander has crept into the draft lottery range on mocks and big boards. Aran Smith of has him as the 12th-best prospect, which is actually down one spot from his previous ranking on their board. In their latest mock draft, they have him going 11th to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo recently listed him as the number 14 prospect on their big board. On Sports Illustrated’s latest mock draft, they have Gilgeous-Alexander going 13th to the Denver Nuggets.

Coming into the season, it didn’t seem likely that Gilgeous-Alexander would be one-and-done. In fact, it seemed like he’d be one of the few to stay past his freshman year. But as this team went through its struggles, and took its bumps and bruises, he emerged as not only the team’s best, most consistent player, but also the team’s glue guy. Kentucky would not have won the SEC Tournament, nor made the Sweet 16, without him.

Gilgeous-Alexander is the third Wildcat from this year’s team to declare for the draft.

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