DeAndre Daniels leaves UConn for NBA draft; Ryan Boatright to return
STORRS, Conn. -- National champion Connecticut is losing one junior star to the NBA draft, while another says he is staying with the Huskies.
The school announced Friday that forward DeAndre Daniels has filed the necessary paperwork with the NBA and will forgo his senior season of eligibility.
It also said that guard Ryan Boatright will return next season.
Daniels said he discussed the decision with his family and they all agreed it was time to turn pro. He said he had a great career at the school and "to go out on top like we did makes it even better."
Daniels averaged 13.1 points and 6.0 rebounds during the season, but 16.0 points and 7.2 rebounds during the Huskies' NCAA tournament run, improving his draft stock along the way.
"I will always bleed blue, I will always love this program," Daniels, a 6-foot-9 forward, said in a statement. "There have been ups and downs, but it's been the best three years of my life. Today, when I thought about leaving, I even cried a little bit because I love this school and the friends I've made here to death. But I'm excited to follow the dream I've had since I was a little kid."
Daniels becomes the 16th UConn player to leave school early for the NBA draft. Fourteen of the others were selected in the first round and 13 were lottery picks.
Coach Kevin Ollie said he supports Daniels' decision. He said he's also thrilled to have Boatright returning.
"The growth and maturity he has shown throughout his career has been wonderful and I expect that to continue as he works toward his degree," Ollie said.
Boatright, a 6-foot guard, averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists, and was a defensive stopper for the Huskies.
He scored 14 points during the team's 60-54 win against Kentucky in the national championship game, while teaming with Shabazz Napier to lock down the Wildcats' heralded twins, Aaron and Andrew Harrison.
Boatright will be the only senior on next year's roster, which also is expected to have guards Terrence Samuel and Omar Calhoun returning. They will be joined in the backcourt by junior-college recruit Sam Cassell Jr., the son of the former NBA star, and Rodney Purvis, a transfer from NC State.