BERKELEY –- Following a season in which he was named a Freshman All-American and the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, University of California forward Jaylen Brown announced at a news conference Thursday that he will declare for the 2016 NBA Draft.
“The journey here at Cal has been nothing short of great,” Brown said in his opening statement. “I’m surrounded by so much support. The people here have been tremendous. I’ve grown so much since I’ve been here. My teammates, my brothers – we started history here – the first team to go 18-0 at home. It’s been tremendous to be a part of it with you guys. I cannot speak highly enough about the education here at California. I’ve grown so much since I’ve been here. When I made my decision (to attend Cal), I knew that there was something special about California-Berkeley. I was assured when I took my first class. Things I learned in that class I’ll take with me for the rest of my life. Just to be around like-minded individuals has been a pleasure. The people here make a difference. The people here come here to change the world, and I’m one of those people.
“My experience here has been great. I love it here. However, I’m here to tell you that this year I’ll be entering the 2016 Draft.”
During his freshman campaign, Brown started all 34 games for the Golden Bears and averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. He had a high of 27 points vs. Richmond and matched the total at Utah later in the year. Brown also posted four double-doubles over the course of the season and dished out a best of seven assists against Arizona.
“I’m really happy for Jaylen,” head coach Cuonzo Martin said. “I think it’s a great day for Jaylen and his family. He’s such a wonderful young man. I’ll be 45 years old and I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Jaylen, his humility, his understanding about life. Off the court, he doesn’t want to talk a lot about basketball. He wants to talk about life, education, how to learn, how to grow. That’s why I think he’ll be very successful, not just in basketball but in life. He’s a tremendous young man with a passion for learning. He has tremendous leadership skills. He’s humble. He wants to be good. He values his teammates. He values your opinion and he wants to grow. I think that speaks volumes about how he was raised. I’m happy for him.”
Brown helped Cal to a 23-10 overall record and a tie for third place in the Pac-12 with a 12-6. The Bears earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament – their highest ever since the NCAA began issuing regional seeds in 1979.
In March Brown became the eighth Cal player to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors, and he was the lone freshman selected first-team All-Pac-12. He was also chosen to the five-player Freshman All-American team by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Brown ranks among Cal’s top 10 on several school freshman lists, including points in a season (3rd, 498), scoring average (5th, 14.6 ppg), field goals made (4th, 163) and free throws made (2nd, 142).
A consensus high school All-American at Wheeler High School in Georgia, Brown was rated the No. 1 prep prospect in the country by Scout.com, No. 3 by Rivals.com and No. 4 by ESPN.com Among his other honors were McDonald’s All-American, Gatorade Georgia Player of the Year and All-USA from USA Today.
“One thing I want people to know about me is that I enjoy learning,” said Brown, who added that he plans to complete his degree at Cal. “I’m a student in the classroom. I’m a student of the game. And I’m a student of life. Wherever I go, I just can’t wait to start the learning process – learning from the veterans, learning from the people who walk the streets that I walk on, learning from the front office people. So, I’m extremely excited and I can’t wait to get to whatever team I land on and be a part of that community. However, I will always be a Golden Bear. I thank you guys for this experience.”
Cal media services