LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — EJ Montgomery is going to attempt give it a shot at the next level.
The Kentucky freshman forward declared for the NBA Draft Friday, but could opt to return based on feedback he receives from experts. Montgomery will have until May 29 to decide remain in the draft or decide to come back for a second season.
“My goal is to be a first-rounder,” he said. “If the information I receive supports that, my plan is to stay in the draft and pursue my dreams of playing in the NBA. Thank you BBN for your love and support through this important time in my life.”
Montgomery is the fourth underclassman to declare for the draft but is the only current player eligible to return next year. PJ Washington, along with freshmen Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson have declared for the draft and won’t be returning next year.
Kentucky coach John Calipari supported Montgomery’s decision.
“EJ improved so much during the year,” Calipari said. “He helped us win games and made a difference in so many other games. I think it is smart for him and his family to explore what his options truly are. I have no doubt in mind that EJ has a bright future. Whether the information says EJ should stay in the draft or come back for another year to prepare for the rest of his life, I’ll support his decision.”
Montgomery averaged 3.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per game and played in 37 games, starting 10 of those contests. He finished third on the team with 28 blocked shots. Montgomery had 11 points and 13 rebounds in Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament opener against Abilene Christian.
“First of all, I want to thank God because none of this would be possible without Him,” Montgomery said. “Thank you to my family for their love and support. Thank you to coach Cal and the coaching staff for challenging me to be the best player and young man I can be.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.