Columbia, Mo. – Mizzou Basketball's Jordan Clarkson announced on Monday that he will forgo his final collegiate season and make himself eligible for the 2014 NBA Draft.
A junior from San Antonio, Texas, Clarkson ranked second on the club, scoring 17.5 points per game, while also leading the team with 3.4 assists per night. A Second Team All-SEC selection by the league coaches, Clarkson reached double figures in 34-of-35 games, including a career high 31 points in a home victory against Southern Illinois. He was second on the team with 14 20-point scoring efforts, including a stretch of five consecutive 20-point games in non-conference play, which was highlighted by 25 points vs. West Virginia and 21 in the home win over UCLA.
"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. "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. 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 was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list in January and won three Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honors. He finished among the SEC's Top 10 in several statistical categories, including scoring (seventh, 17.5), assists (seventh, 3.4), field goal percentage (ninth, .447), assist/turnover ratio (ninth, 1.3) and minutes played (third, 35.1).
"It's been a challenging few months for Jordan and his family, but I am so proud of the way he has handled adversity and has really grown, not just as a basketball player, but as a young man," Head Coach Frank Haith said. "Jordan is a young man we can all be proud of. He is set to graduate from Mizzou this spring and has embraced this university and this community. While I hate to see him go, I hope he knows he will always have a home here at Mizzou."
The departure of Clarkson opens up a scholarship for Haith and his staff. The Tigers currently have two players signed for next season, Georgia Mr. Basketball, Jakeenan Gant (Springfield, Ga. / Effingham County) and athletic wing, Namon Wright (Los Angeles/Pacific Hills), from Los Angeles.
Mizzou has had at least one player drafted into the NBA each of the last two seasons. Kim English (Detroit Pistons) and Marcus Denmon (San Antonio Spurs) were drafted in 2012 and Alex Oriakhi was drafted by the Phoenix Suns last season. Phil Pressey signed a free agent deal with the Boston Celtics last year and is averaging 13.6 minutes per game, which includes seven starts.