TUCSON, Ariz. – After helping lead the Arizona men’s basketball program to a 94-17 record, three Sweet 16s, a pair of Elite Eights, two regular-season Pac-12 championships and a Pac-12 Tournament title over the last three seasons, Brandon Ashley has announced that he will enter his name in the 2015 NBA Draft.
“After giving it much thought and talking with my mother and my coaches, I have decided to enter the NBA Draft,” Ashley said. “I am very proud of my time at Arizona, especially of the success I’ve had with my Wildcat brothers over the last three years. I want to thank Coach (Sean) Miller, the coaching staff, the administration, the fans and the city of Tucson for an incredible college experience and unforgettable support.
“During my time as a Wildcat, I have grown both on and off the court, which has made me a stronger athlete and person today. I know this is the right time for me to make the move to the NBA, and I will continue to be one of the hardest working guys out there until I fulfill my lifelong dream of playing at the highest level.”
Ashley earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 accolades this season after ranking second on the team in both scoring (12.2) and blocks (0.7), as well as third in rebounds (5.2). He scored in double figures 28 times on the year, leading UA in scoring on 11 occasions.
The San Francisco native ranked ninth in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (.514) and 22nd in the conference in scoring (12.2). He also ranked sixth in the Pac-12 with a career-high 172 free throw attempts, shooting 70.3 percent from the line on the season.
“We support Brandon’s decision to declare for this year’s NBA Draft. Brandon had a major impact on all three of the teams that he played on during his time at Arizona,” Miller said. “Watching him overcome the injury he sustained during the 2013-14 season and then have the type of junior season he had was one of my proudest moments as a coach.
“His performance in this year’s Pac-12 Tournament is a sign of many things to come in his future, and we know he’ll be a success in his professional career moving forward. We will miss Brandon’s consistency and maturity off the court in so many ways. In the classroom, he has put himself in a great position to earn his degree and in our community, he was as likeable and engaging as any player we’ve had.”
Ashley was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2015 Pac-12 Tournament after leading Arizona to its first tournament title since 2002 with an average of 19.7 points per game on 73.1 percent shooting from the field. He scored a career-high 24 points in the semifinals to help the Wildcats advance with a win over UCLA, and added 20 in UA’s title-game win over Oregon.
He finished his tenure at Arizona with averages of 10.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per game, while shooting 51.9 percent from the floor, 38.2 percent from outside the arc and 72.4 percent from the free throw line. His 979-career points place him in 51st place on the program’s scoring list.
Since the beginning of the 2013-14 campaign, Arizona was 55-4 (.932) with Ashley in the lineup.
In recent years, ESPN ranked Arizona sixth among all college programs in terms of producing top NBA talent over the last two-plus decades.
Over the last 28 years, NBA Draft night has been a night of celebration for members of the Arizona men’s basketball program, as 38 UA players have heard their names called since 1988.
The Wildcats’ 38 selections are tied with Duke and Kentucky for the most in the nation over that span. Kansas has 35 selections and both North Carolina and UCLA have 34 to round out the top five nationally since 1988.
UA players have been far from content by just hearing their names called on draft night, having topped the collective $1 billion mark in career earnings.
Collectively, the Wildcats who have been drafted since 1988 are an accomplished group, having won 13 NBA championships and made six All-Star appearances. The group boasts a Rookie of the Year (Damon Stoudamire), a Sixth Man of the Year (Jason Terry) and a Most Improved Player (Gilbert Arenas).