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Former Wildcat Johnny Juzang is off to the NBA

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Juzang is ready to begin his NBA journey.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-North Carolina vs UCLA Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Former Kentucky Wildcats guard Johnny Juzang has opted to forgo his remaining college eligibility and enter the 2022 NBA Draft. He announced his decision Wednesday on Instagram.

Juzang, a California native, initially came to Lexington as the 34th-ranked prospect in the class of 2019. Though he showed flashes throughout his lone year in Lexington, Juzang wanted a bigger role and also to be closer to home during the COVID-19 pandemic, so he transferred to UCLA. He instantly became a star for the Bruins, making a name for himself in the PAC-12.

In his first season at UCLA, Juzang averaged 16 points per game, shooting 44% from the field and leading his Bruins to a Final Four. UCLA lost to Gonzaga on a Jalen Suggs half-court buzzer-beater.

Most of that team returned, including Juzang, who averaged 15.6 points per game as a junior this past season. Injuries derailed the last few weeks of his season, and he struggled to find his footing in the tournament.

UCLA didn’t make much noise, losing to UNC in the Sweet 16. UCLA was bounced in both of Juzang’s seasons by the national runner-up.

Juzang played a large role at UCLA and should be a solid prospect at the next level given his playmaking, though he’s projected to go somewhere in the second round of this year’s NBA Draft.

As of now, the Kentucky Wildcats are scheduled to play UCLA on December 17 in the CBS Sports Classic, so they won’t have to prepare for the dynamic Juzang this coming season.

Plus, the Bruins would have had a strong argument to be the No. 1 team and national title favorite next season had Juzang returned. The Bruins will have fellow star Jaime Jaquez back and should have much of their current roster back in the fold sans Juzang.