Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Kentucky Wildcats big man Skal Labissiere declares for NBA Draft

Kentucky's Skal Labissiere announced Tuesday that he is entering the NBA Draft and will hire an agent, effectively ending his short career with the Wildcats.

The freshman center/forward from Haiti is the second UK underclassman to declare for the June 23rd draft, joining freshman guard Jamal Murray.

“I want to thank my family, my coaches, teammates and most importantly I want to thank God for the opportunity that he gave me to represent and play for the University of Kentucky,” Labissiere said via a statement released by UK. “I also want to thank the fans for their support through everything this season. I am excited to announce that I am entering the 2016 NBA Draft.”

The 6-foot-11 Labissiere is coming off a year which saw hints of the enormous potential which led Scout to rank him as the No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2015, but was also marked by inconsistency in a tough transition to the physical nature of the college game. He averaged 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game.

Scouts, however, love his combination of size, athleticism and soft shooting touch. DraftExpress.com currently has Labissiere slated to go No. 10 in the lottery portion of the draft. NBADraft.net has him at No. 14.

“I couldn’t be more proud of a player and the way Skal handled himself on our campus this season,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “He was a great student, a great teammate and I’m so proud of the way he handled himself in the community. He is one of the greatest kids I’ve ever coached.

"On the basketball court, it took him and our staff a while to figure out how to best utilize him, but his improvement on that court over the year is why he is in this position to put his name in the draft and be projected in the middle of the lottery. His future is out ahead of him and I think in time he will be in the same breath as all of our big guys who have performed well in the NBA.”

UK has produced 25 NBA Draft picks since Calipari arrived prior to the 2009-10 season, including 19 first-round selections, 13 lottery picks and three No. 1 overall picks.


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