After a first impressive season in Kentucky, Justin Edwards revealed this week that he’s officially declaring for the 2024 NBA Draft. Once considered a potential top pick, he still chose to try to go professional despite a decline in his draft stock throughout this campaign. 

The young player announced his decision with a post on his personal Instagram account, sharing his most recent career update. “Big Blue Nation,” he starts off. “This season, my experience in Lexington, thanks to my coaches, my teammates, and you the fans, has been everything I dreamed it would be.”

“I am so grateful to have been a part of the legendary Kentucky program, getting to represent the blue and white with everything I have. Thank you to the Wildcat community for embracing me from my arrival and making Kentucky feel like home,” he wrote.

Edwards then dedicated some words to those who’ve supported him: “I need to specifically shout out my family for their unwavering support throughout my journey, which has fueled me every step of the way. To my brothers and teammates, thank you for being there and working alongside me each and every today. To Coach Calipari and the entire coaching staff, thank you for pushing me to be the best version of myself.”

“After careful consideration and with a deep appreciation for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had here in Kentucky, Have decided to take a significant step in my basketball career. With much gratitude, I am excited to announce my decision to declare for the NBA Draft,” his post concludes.

The 19-year-old didn’t mention the possibility of returning to Kentucky in case he doesn’t make it to the NBA, suggesting that he would probably remain in the 2024 draft pool.

With this decision, Justin has become the second Wildcat player to announce his basketball plans this campaign, as Adou Theiro recently decided for the transfer portal with the intention of entering the NBA Draft. However, he did mention he would consider returning to Kentucky to play his junior season.

College basketball world reacts without surprise to Kentucky star’s announcement to go professional

While most fans have shown their support for the freshman star, others doubt his chances in the Draft as they believe he hasn’t developed his full potential in college basketball.

An account on X called Tyler B summed up what most Wildcat fans feel. “No surprise. Seen it with BJ Boston and Chris Livingston. It’s the culture created. It’s why they come to UK. Wished UK had the approach of these other programs. If you’re not a guaranteed 1st rd pick I do not understand why you don’t come back. DJ will be next,” he wrote on social media.

“It’s a shame college basketball has gotten to this. Will never get a kid to buy in to any school when it’s 100% guarantee they know they’re one and done, no matter how they preformed. Good job not pushing kids out the door,” another tweeted.

In his first campaign in Kentucky, Edwards produced averages of 8.8 points while shooting 48.6% from the field, 36.5% from beyond the arc, and 77.6% from the free-throw line, plus 3.4 rebounds per contest across 30 out of 32 games for the Wildcats.


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