Kansas Center Joel Embiid Declares for NBA Draft

by Bill DiFilippo

It’s official: one of the two SLAM 177 cover boys has declared for the NBA Draft.

Kansas center Joel Embiid announced today in a press conference his intention to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft. The announcement comes more than two weeks after fellow star freshman Andrew Wiggins declared for the Draft.

Via The Kansas City Star:

With Jayhawks coach Bill Self by his side, Embiid announced Wednesday at a news conference that he’ll enter the NBA Draft, closing his college career after 28 games. Embiid said he came to the decision on Sunday.

“I just want to thank God first for giving me this opportunity to come to the (United States) and play ball,” Embiid said. “I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, the fans — everyone that’s helped me through my journey. After thinking a lot, I’ve decided to declare for the NBA Draft.”

The Cameroonian native averaged 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game for the Jayhawks. However, his career ended abruptly, as he missed the team’s final six games due to a back injury. If healthy, ESPN’s Chad Ford projects that Embiid will be a top-3 pick in the Draft.