Missouri junior guard Jordan Clarkson announced Monday that he would skip his senior season and enter the NBA Draft.
“It wasn’t an easy decision,” Clarkson wrote in a letter to Tigers fans. “I have so much respect for everyone here and the impact you have made on my life has been immense. However, it is a decision that I’ve thought through and discussed with my family on numerous occasions. Having their full support makes this decision much easier.”
Clarkson is a 6-foot-5 San Antonio native who converted to point guard while sitting out last season after transferring from Tulsa. He played one season with the Tigers and was second on the team averaging 17.5 points and reached double-figure scoring in 34 of 35 games.
“It felt like the right time to take this step in my career, especially with graduation this spring,” Clarkson said in a release from the Missouri basketball team. “I will always cherish the memories from my time here at Mizzou.”
Clarkson, who was a second-team all-SEC pick by the league’s coaches, had 14 20-point games and also averaged 3.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists as the Tigers’ primary ball handler. He finished with 118 assists and 93 turnovers.
During the last two months, Clarkson, who was on the midseason Wooden Award watch list, also played with a heavy heart after learning that his father, Michael, had a tumor on his spine.
“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,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said in a statement. “Jordan is a young man we can all be proud of. … While I hate to see him go, I hope he knows he will always have a home here at Mizzou.”
Before arriving at Missouri, Clarkson played two seasons at Tulsa, where he averaged 16.5 points as a sophomore en route to first-team All-Conference USA honors.
DraftExpress.com and CBS Sports analysts Gary Parrish and Zach Harper have Clarkson projected as a second-round NBA Draft pick.
Tigers junior Jabari Brown — who has yet to declare for the NBA Draft though he’s expected to make a similar announcement soon — also projects as a second-round pick.