Auburn freshman point guard Sharife Cooper, who led all major conference players in assists per game and finished second nationally in the category last season, told ESPN on Friday that he has declared for the 2021 NBA Draft and plans to forgo his remaining college eligibility.

Cooper was a revelation for the Tigers in his one-and-done season, ranking third among all SEC players in points per game and first in assists. He's the No. 23 overall player on the CBS Sports Big Board and was No. 19 on our latest mock draft. He's steadily risen on draft boards all season because of his elite court vision and ability to execute off that edge with pizzazz.

Because of an eligibility hang-up, Cooper did all this despite not appearing in a game until Jan. 9, missing the team's first 11 games of the season. He then immediately shined, scoring 26 then 28 points in his first two games and adding 21 combined assists in those two outings. 

"He's our quarterback," Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said earlier in the season. "He's the biggest little man out there. When it comes to the end of the game, he expects to make the plays."

Cooper's commitment last year gave Auburn its highest-rated basketball recruit in program history, but as he departs, he leaves opening the door for five-star Jabari Smith, a top-10 2021 talent who has signed and usurped Cooper as the highest-rated recruit in the Tigers' history.