COLUMBIA, Mo. - Missouri guard Jordan Clarkson announced on Monday he is declaring for the NBA draft.
Clarkson averaged 17.5 points per game and 3.4 assists per game. He was the primary ball handler for the Tigers (23-12) this season. He teamed up with Jabari Brown (19.9 points per game) and Earnest Ross (14.0 points per game) to form one of the nation's best trios.
The junior from San Antonio played one season with Missouri after transferring from Tulsa.
"It's hard to find the right words to say because this coaching staff, my teammates, this school and these fans have been so incredible to me during my two years here at Mizzou," Jordan Clarkson said in a statement released by Missouri. "Obviously this was not an easy decision for me and my family, but it felt like the right time to take this step in my career, especially with graduation this spring,"
Jeff Goodman, who was the first to report Clarkson's decision, said NBA executives told the ESPN Clarkson would be a considered a late first round pick. Goodman writes, "He's a big, athletic guard who they project to be able to play either backcourt spot."
"I will always cherish the memories from my time here at Mizzou and will continue to work hard to spread the Mizzou Brand as Coach Haith takes this program to the next level," Clarkson said in his statement.
Brown is another player that is considering leaving for the professional ranks. The transfer from Oregon averaged 20 points a game in conference play. Draftexpress.com has Brown projected as a second round pick, one spot ahead of Clarkson.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is April 27th.
Below is a letter from Clarkson addressed to "Mizzou Nation"
I'd like to begin by saying how humbled and appreciative I am to the University of Missouri and the City of Columbia for the warm reception I received in 2012, when I arrived after transferring from the University of Tulsa.
Everyone associated with Mizzou, the coaches, my teammates, administration and fans welcomed me in with open arms and afforded me the opportunity to continue my dream of getting an education and playing basketball at such a prestigious university. Words simply cannot express the gratitude I feel towards Coach Haith for bringing me into this program and helping me leave this spring as a University of Missouri graduate!
I also want to thank my teammates for the warm reception I received when I first arrived. I hope they were able to learn as much from me as I learned from them. It's a fantastic group of guys and a group that will make Tiger Nation proud, not only with their play on the court, but their love for our great university.
With that being said, I wanted to write this letter to our fans to let you know personally that I have decided to forgo my senior year at Missouri and enter the 2014 NBA draft. It wasn't an easy decision. I have so much respect for everyone here and the impact you have made on my life has been immense. However, it is a decision that I've thought through and discussed with my family on numerous occasions. Having their full support makes this decision much easier.
I will miss the University of Missouri, the coaching staff, basketball program and Columbia. Mizzou will always have a special place in my heart and I will always cherish the memories, maturity and the experiences I gained while playing basketball for Mizzou.