Arizona Wildcats guard Stanley Johnson declares for NBA Draft

Apr 24, 2015, 12:00 AM | Updated: 12:34 am

Stanley Johnson arrived in Tucson as a projected one-and-done player.

And that he is.

Johnson announced Thursday he has decided to leave school after his freshman season to enter the 2015 NBA Draft. He said it was the toughest decision of his life.

He also strongly considered returning for a sophomore season.

“I put a hell of a lot of thought into coming back,” he said at a press conference Thursday. “For me, especially the first week (after losing in the Elite 8), it was like, season’s over, what’s going on? For me, it was like let’s go, I want another shot at doing this and for me, people were saying NBA Draft and I was like, ‘I’m not done yet’ and stuff like that.

“It took a lot of thought, but at the end of the day you’ve got to make the right decision, in my opinion. I talked to my family and Coach Miller — and all the coaches, really — extensively, very long, and I put a lot of hard thought into it. And I thought at the end of the day, for me to do what I have to, I thought this was the best decision.”

The 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Johnson led Arizona in scoring at 13.8 points per game while pulling down 6.5 rebounds and dishing out 1.7 assists per contest.

“This is always a bittersweet moment for me and I think for our program,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “On one hand, it’s incredibly exciting to see a young guy like Stanley go from where he was when he came here to, here we go, into the NBA Draft, which I have no doubt he’ll be a high pick and go on and have a long career that we’ll all be proud of.”

A 6-foot-7, 245-pound forward with guard-like handle, Johnson is projected to be the eighth pick in the draft by NBADraft.net and the ninth selection in the draft by DraftExpress.com.

ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (Insider) lists Johnson as the 11th-best prospect in draft, writing:

Johnson’s tournament was solid, just like his season. He clearly has an NBA body, shot the ball better this season than anyone could’ve hoped, and when he dials in defensively, he looks to be a strong two-way player in the pros. But NBA scouts think Winslow is a better athlete and has an even better motor. They think both Hezonja and Kansas’ Kelly Oubre will be better shooters long term. Johnson is stuck somewhere in between: the guy who does just about everything well but lacks that one elite skill. Still, I think there’s almost no way he falls out of the lottery. He could go as high as No. 6, but I think the range is more likely Nos. 8 to 14.

Johnson is the fourth member of Arizona’s starting lineup to leave school. Point guard T.J. McConnell graduated, while forwards Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley, like Johnson, declared for the NBA Draft.

Last season, Arizona went 34-4 and won the Pac-12 regular season title as well as the Pac-12 Tournament. Their season ended in the Elite 8 with a loss to Wisconsin.

Penguin Air

Arizona Basketball

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
3 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
3 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
4 days ago
Arizona Sports

Toronto Raptors take Arizona C Christian Koloko 33rd in NBA Draft

Christian Koloko gave the Wildcats three draft picks in the first 33 selections of the NBA Draft, as the Raptors plucked him off the board.
11 days ago
Dalen Terry #4 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts after hitting a a 3-pointer against the UCLA Bruins d...
Arizona Sports

Arizona basketball’s Dalen Terry drafted 18th by Bulls

Dalen Terry became the second Arizona Wildcats draftee to ship off to the midwest, heading to the Chicago Bulls.
11 days ago
Guard Bennedict Mathurin #0 of the Arizona Wildcats smiles on the sidelines during the game against...
Arizona Sports

Former Wildcat Bennedict Mathurin picked 6th by Indiana Pacers

Former Arizona Wildcat Bennedict Mathurin was selected by the Indiana Pacers with the sixth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
11 days ago
Arizona Wildcats guard Stanley Johnson declares for NBA Draft