Cal sophomore and potential first-round pick Ivan Rabb is leaving for the NBA

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California sophomore Ivan Rabb is leaving college, signing with an agent and putting his name into the NBA Draft pool.

After bypassing a chance to be a lottery pick last season, Rabb opted to return to the Bay Area to better his game and hopefully improve his standing in the draft.

Cal went 21-13 and missed the NCAA Tournament, but Rabb upped his averages. He jumped from 12.5 to 14.0 points per game and averaged 10.5 rebounds this season after averaging 8.6 a year ago. Rabb also averaged 1.5 assists. His field goal percentage did take a big dip, dropping from to 48.4 after a 61.5-percent mark he had as a freshman. 

Rabb should be a first-round pick, but this year’s draft class is deeper than 2016’s, meaning he could find himself outside the lottery. 

Rabb, a native of nearby Oakland, wrote a letter to the Cal fan base. Here it is:

Dear Cal Family,

After careful consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to forgo my remaining NCAA eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. First, I want to thank everybody for their support. Since the day I committed to Cal, the love from Bay Area fans was overwhelming. I could genuinely tell that people really appreciated seeing me come to Cal and succeed and do well. 

Haas Pavilion will always hold a special place in my heart, and I won’t forget how incredible it felt to be “Oakland’s Own” as I ran onto the court in front of my friends, family and team.I made a lot of really close friends here that I’ll have for the rest of my life. My teammates became my brothers. That was an aspect of college and the team culture that we have here. We stuck together, had fun and played for each other.While this season didn’t end the way we all had hoped, I have no regrets about returning for a second season this year. Both of my years here at Cal were a learning experience. 

In my first year, I was the young guy learning the ropes and earning respect. As my sophomore year went on, I grew into my own and was challenged to find ways to perform at a high level every night. The games were different, and they were more serious. My goal was to go out and play well while having fun and enjoying every moment. At the end of the day, I had fun with my brothers and continued to grow on and off the court, which leaves me feeling more prepared than ever to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of me to play at the highest level.

Now is the right time for me to focus on my professional basketball career, but I do plan on finishing school. It’s a promise I made to my mom and to myself that I’ll finish school and get my degree from UC Berkeley. It was an honor and privilege for me -- a kid from Oakland -- to be afforded an opportunity to learn and thrive in these unique classrooms. I want to thank the fans, my teammates, coaches, professors, the administration and the university for my unbelievable experience here in Berkeley. I’m very proud of my time as a Golden Bear, and I’m looking forward to the next phase of my basketball career with the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning senior writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his ninth season reporting on college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics... Full Bio

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