UCLA basketball: Malcolm Lee to declare for NBA draft, not hire an agent to preserve eligibility
UCLA junior guard Malcolm Lee will announce Tuesday morning that he is declaring for the NBA draft but not hiring an agent to preserve the possibility of returning for his senior season, a person with knowledge of the situation who is not authorized to comment publicly until an announcement is made said Monday night.
Lee, projected in one mock draft to be selected early in the second round, can begin working out for NBA teams once he fully recovers from knee surgery in a few weeks and has until May 8 to withdraw his name from the draft and retain his amateur eligibility.
The departure of UCLA sophomore Tyler Honeycutt, who announced Monday that he would hire an agent and enter the NBA draft, was expected, but the loss of Lee, the Bruins' best defender and team captain, would drastically alter expectations for next season. Without Lee and Honeycutt, the Bruins' second- and third-leading scorers, a team that could have opened the season ranked in the top 10 in the country might barely create a ripple nationally.
On the plus side, the mother of sophomore forward Reeves Nelson said she expected the Bruins' leading scorer to return next season.
"As of right now, we would like him to stay in school and more than likely that's what he'll end up doing," Sheila Nelson said.
Photo: UCLA Bruins guard Malcolm Lee reacts after shooting a three pointer in the first half against the Florida Gators during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the St. Pete Times Forum. Credit: Kim Klement / US Presswire