Jaden Ivey is going pro.
The Purdue All-American announced on social media Thursday he will forego his final two seasons of college eligibility and enter the NBA draft – where he is a projected top-five pick.
“This has been a lifelong dream of mine,” Ivey wrote at the conclusion of a note posted on his Twitter account, “and I am beyond excited for this journey.”
Ivey averaged 17.3 points as a sophomore this season for the Boilermakers, helping the program to its first No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll and its fourth Sweet 16 in its last five NCAA Tournament appearances.
Third-seeded Purdue’s season ended March 25 with a 67-64 loss against No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s in the East Regional semifinals at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. Ivey struggled in the contest, shooting 4-of-12 from the field and 1-of-6 from 3-point range and finishing with nine points.
It was the first time he failed to score in double figures since a 70-64 win against Northwestern on Feb. 16. Ivey’s lone 3-pointer came with eight seconds remaining and cut the Boilers’ deficit to 65-64. A potential tying shot from the logo near midcourt hit the front of the rim and bounced off as time expired.
Ivey scored 22 points in a first-round victory against Yale and had 18 – including two critical late 3-pointers – in a second-round win against Texas.
“Ivey’s obviously a special player,” Longhorns coach Chris Beard said after the game. “… He got loose from us a few times, and give him a lot of credit. He’s one of the quickest, fastest players that I’ve ever seen on tape, and he was just as fast in person.
“His speed’s an issue. He got downhill on us a little bit late in the second half.”
Ivey shot 35.8% from 3-point range and averaged 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists while improving his all-around game after a standout freshman season.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard is projected to be selected fourth overall in the latest mock drafts from NBC Sports, USA Today and The Sporting News.
“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the ability to play the game of basketball,” Ivey wrote. “He has given me the passion, confidence and drive to pursue this dream of mine. To my support system, my family – thank you for loving and supporting me through all the challenges and adversities that I have endured throughout my basketball career. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without your guidance, wisdom and love.
“To my teammates, thank you for making the last two years unforgettable. Every day we went to war, competed and gave it our all on the court. I’m very thankful to have been a part of something special. To Coach (Matt) Painter, thank you for giving a kid from South Bend a chance to come play for your program. You have not only helped me become a better player but a better person off the court. I am forever grateful to know a person like you.
“To Boiler Nation, you made every game special. Thank you for all of your support. With that being said, I will be entering my name in the 2022 NBA draft.”
Ivey is the third player to bid farewell to the program since the season ended last week.
Senior Sasha Stefanovic announced earlier this week he will not exercise the extra year of eligibility granted to him because of the COVID pandemic and will instead pursue a professional career. The 6-5 guard shot 38% from 3-point range and averaged 10.4 points this season.
Junior guard Isaiah Thompson entered the transfer portal after starting 20 games and averaging 4.2 points while shooting 42.4% from 3-point range.
Williams declares for draft
Few – if anyone – sacrificed as much for Purdue’s men’s basketball team this season as Trevion Williams.
Now it’s time for the 6-foot-10 center to do what’s best for himself.
Williams announced via social media Friday he will forego his extra “COVID” season of eligibility and enter the NBA draft.
“It’s time for me to take the next step in my basketball journey,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post, “and (I) will be entering my name in the 2022 NBA draft and signing with an agent.”
That most likely brings to an end a four-year career with the Boilermakers that included 1,410 points, 905 rebounds and 238 assists. Williams joins former Michigan State star Draymond Green as the only Power 5 conference players with at least 1,400 points, 900 rebounds and 200 assists while starting fewer than 50% of their team’s games since 2000.
One year after being named first-team All-Big Ten and honorable mention All-American, Williams accepted a sixth man role behind 7-4 center Zach Edey. Despite making just four starts and averaging 20.1 minutes, Williams averaged 12 points and 7.4 rebounds while leading Purdue with 112 assists and 35 steals.
“This is just a different team because he’s first-team all-league the year before, so a lot of people have tried to discuss (Williams and Edey) playing together, and that’s what we – I even talked about that,” Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said between the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Milwaukee. “We did a little bit of that in the summer, but we’ve struggled some. Here in the past month we’ve been better defensively, but from a ball-screen defense, transition defense, actually defensive standpoint, that really puts a burden on our team when we’re that way.
“Now when (Williams is) in there by himself, he’s got a lot of space with the skill we put on the floor, and so does Zach obviously. … (Williams) has been great. He’s kept a good attitude. It’s been frustrating at times, and you understand that. You want to do well. You want to help your team. Then you don’t get to play quite as much. But if you look how efficient those guys have been, they’ve both done a really good job.”
In three postseason games this season, Williams averaged 15.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists. He led Purdue with 22 points in an 81-71 second-round victory against Texas and had 16 points and eight rebounds in the third-seeded Boilers’ 67-64 loss to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s in the Sweet 16.
Williams entered his name in the draft pool last year before withdrawing and returning to Purdue. He’s projected as a second-round pick this year.
Williams joins Boilers guard Jaden Ivey in this draft class. Ivey, a projected top-five pick, announced his intention to enter the draft Thursday.
“What a ride this has been,” Williams wrote. “Four years ago, when I started this journey at Purdue, there was no way to envision what my time here would become. It’s been filled with many more highs than lows, and I wouldn’t trade one second of this journey for anything.
“My brothers and I have accomplished a lot, and I hope that we leave this program in better shape than when we arrived.”