ARIZONA BASKETBALL

Arizona freshman guard Kobi Simmons to enter 2017 NBA Draft

Apr 5, 2017, 1:59 PM | Updated: 5:34 pm

Arizona guard Kobi Simmons (2) passes the ball around Washington State guard Viont'e Daniels and Co...

Arizona guard Kobi Simmons (2) passes the ball around Washington State guard Viont'e Daniels and Conor Clifford (42) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated Washington State 79-62. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

As had become expected, Arizona Wildcats freshman guard Kobi Simmons will make his stay in Tucson a short one. The freshman guard will depart and hire an agent in preparation for the 2017 NBA Draft.

“Kobi Simmons, with the support of his family, has decided to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft,” said head coach Sean Miller in a statement. “All of us here at Arizona thank him for his freshman season and wish him continued success as he pursues his professional career.”

The news comes on the heels of incoming UA freshman DeAndre Ayton revealing, perhaps accidentally, that Simmons had planned on declaring for the draft.

Simmons’ departure follows that of fellow freshman Lauri Markkanen, who declared for the NBA Draft last week.

“I have enjoyed my time at Arizona very much,” Simmons said in a release. “I would like to thank my teammates, coaches and our great fans for their support and effort in making my year truly a special one. Bear Down.”

In his lone season with the Wildcats, Simmons averaged 8.8 points on 39.7 percent shooting, along with 1.6 rebounds and two assists in 23.5 minutes per game.

It was not always a smooth ride, however.

After averaging 28.6 minutes over Arizona’s first 28 games, the 19-year-old’s playing time and production started to decline in late February.

Over the final nine games of the season (six of which were Pac-12 or NCAA Tournament games), Simmons played only 7.9 minutes per game, averaging 2.4 points on 26.7 percent shooting.

His best game as a Wildcat came in Arizona’s upset over then-No. 3 UCLA. He set or tied career highs with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists in the 96-85 Wildcats win on Jan. 21.

Simmons is the 67th-highest rated prospect in DraftExpress’s top 100, and their latest mock draft has him being taken 51st overall by the Denver Nuggets.

ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford isn’t quite as high on him, ranking the 6-foot-4, 170-pound guard 76th on his board.

Any team looking to draft Simmons will be banking on the idea that he can live up to his billing coming out of high school, when he was a four-star recruit out of Alpharetta, Ga., and the No. 29 player in his class, according to 247Sports.

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