Even though he didn't regularly crack the Arizona starting lineup last season, freshman forward Grant Jerrett has decided to become the Wildcats' first one-and-done player in five years.
UA confirmed Jerrett's deci-sion to turn professional in a release Wednesday night, after a CBSSports.com story said earlier that he would leave and likely sign with an agent who is married to his high school coach's sister.
"Today, with the support of my family, I made the decision to enter the 2013 NBA draft and pursue my lifelong dream of playing professional basketball," Jerrett said in a statement.
"I would like to thank all Wildcat fans, my teammates and coaches for making my year in Tucson an incredible experience. I will forever be an Arizona Wildcat."
Jerrett becomes the first UA player to declare for the NBA draft after one season since Jerryd Bayless did so in 2008.
"I would like to wish Grant well as he pursues his goal of becoming a part of the NBA," coach Sean Miller said in the UA statement.
"Not only is Grant a talented player, but he is an even better person with a wonderful and supportive family. I look forward to helping him in any way that I can as he moves forward in his basketball career."
The UA statement wrapped up a somewhat bizarre evening in which the CBSSports.com report said Jerrett was likely to sign with agent Brian Dyke, who is married to new USC women's coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke. Cooper-Dyke is the sister of Jerrett's high school coach, Eric Cooper, whose son decommitted from Arizona this week.
Eric Cooper did not respond to messages for comment Wednesday. His son, Eric, and Jerrett committed to UA together in November 2010.
Despite the CBSSports.com report, Jerrett's father, Lamont Jerrett, told the Star earlier Wednesday night that the decision was not final.
"That hasn't been decided," he said. "In the next few days it will be decided, but right now it's still up in the air."
Jerrett is not projected to be picked in the first round of the NBA draft, where picks are given guaranteed contracts.
Draft Express rated Jerrett the No. 25 freshman last season, having projected him as a mid-first-rounder in its 2014 mock draft last fall before removing him.
ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford rated Jerrett the No. 27 power forward prospect and the 124th-best prospect overall. Ford listed Jerrett in the "second-round/undrafted" category but noted that Jerrett's passing, basketball IQ and shooting are strengths.
As a freshman last season, the 6-foot-10-inch, 220-pound Jerrett played in 34 games but started just two and averaged only 17.8 minutes.
He averaged 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds but showed a strong shooting touch, making 40.5 percent of his three-point attempts and 81.8 percent of his free throws.
Jerrett's departure gives the Wildcats a second open scholarship to offer a high school player or transfer this spring.
Gordon signs with UA
Sean Miller officially welcomed Aaron Gordon on board Wednesday, saying the Arizona Wildcats have added "the ultimate winner."
Gordon, a 6-foot-8-inch, 210-pound forward rated in the top five of the 2013 recruiting class, signed a letter of intent for Arizona on Wednesday at his high school, Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, Calif.
Although Miller was not available for comment, he spoke glowingly about the Wildcats' latest recruit in a statement.
Not only was Gordon a two-time California Mr. Basketball and the MVP of the McDonald's All American Game on April 3, but he led Mitty to state titles in 2010 and 2011 before it lost to Mater Dei in the finals of California's new open division this spring.
"We are excited to welcome Aaron Gordon into our basketball family," Miller said.
"Aaron is the ultimate winner. He has won multiple California state championships, which speaks for itself. He is also a great teammate, incredibly unselfish, and a relentless competitor."
Miller said the addition of Gordon to fellow recruits Elliott Pitts and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson "brings an exciting new cast" to a team that will also have guard T.J. McConnell and forward Matt Korcheck eligible after they redshirted last season.
ESPN rated UA's three-man class of Gordon, Hollis-Jefferson and Pitts No. 5 overall, and the Wildcats still have an open scholarship remaining for the 2013 class - two scholarships if Jerrett opts to leave.
Gordon announced he would attend Arizona on April 2, during the McDonald's All American Game pregame news conference, having played throughout his senior season with specula-tion of where he would play collegiately.
But even once Gordon made his choice, Mitty coach Tim Kennedy said things didn't change much because Gordon never concerned himself with rumors.
"He's the same guy," Kennedy said.
"His focus is just on making himself a better basketball player."
On StarNet: Follow the Cats through the offseason at azstarnet.com/pascoe
The new guys
With top recruit Aaron Gordon committed, here are Arizona's fresh faces for 2013-14:
Player Pos Ht. Wt.
Aaron Gordon F 6-8 210
T.J. McConnell* G 6-1 190
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson F 6-7 215
Matt Korcheck** F 6-10 225
Elliott Pitts G 6-5 180
*Transfer from Duquesne
** Transfer from Cochise College