Announcing his decision alongside his father in a press conference at UK's Memorial Coliseum, Murray described his year with the Wildcats as both fun and productive.
“I came here with a goal to improve myself and I did," Murray said. "I cherished every moment I was on the court. I made Kentucky my second home to Canada. Coach Cal and the staff told me that I would have to work hard every day and that they would demand the best of me. I’m thankful for how much they’ve pushed me to become a better player, teammate and person.
“With that said, I’m ready to take on the challenge of playing at the next level and I have declared for the NBA Draft. I want to thank the fans for all their support. It was a crazy experience and we had a lot of fun this year. I’m excited to take on new challenges in the journey ahead of me."
Murray, a 6-foot-4 guard who is projected as a potential top five pick by some NBA Draft analysts, led UK in scoring at 20.0 points per game this season, the highest individual scoring average in the John Calipari era. His 720 points set a new freshman scoring record at UK and ranks eighth all-time among all players.
“Jamal is one of the greatest kids,” Calipari said in a statement released by UK. “The improvement he showed over the course of the season may be unmatched by anyone I’ve ever coached. He grew into a true winner and one of the most efficient scorers. What I love about Jamal is he’s a great teammate who has a smile on his face every day. I’m going to really miss coaching him.”
The Kitchener, Ontario, native was a third-team AP All-America selection. He reached double-figure scoring in 30 games, made a 3-pointer in every game, and set a new UK freshman record with 113 treys. Only current NBA MVP Stephen Curry hit more 3-pointers (122) as a freshman in NCAA history.
Murray said he has yet to hire an agent. The NBA Draft combine will be held May 11-15. Players have until May 25 to make a final decision based on the new rule between the NCAA and NBA, provided they don't hire an agent.
The draft is slated for June 25 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Murray would be the 17th "one-and-done" player since Calipari arrived at UK prior to the 2009-10 season.
Kentucky is also awaiting decisions from players like sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis, the SEC Player of the Year, and freshman center Skal Labissiere. Both are currently being projected as first-round picks.