NBA Draft 2017: Kentucky's De'Aaron Fox will go pro, sign with an agent

Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox will enter the 2017 NBA draft and sign with an agent, according to a statement released by the University of Kentucky.

“First of all, I’m grateful for the unbelievable season we had,” Fox said. “Although the ending didn’t turn out how we wanted it to, this team came together as a family and we achieved things that a lot of people didn’t think we could because we were so young. I want to thank my teammates for being on this ride with me as well as the seniors and specifically Zay (Isaiah Briscoe) for guiding me this season. It wouldn’t have been such a smooth transition from high school to college without their leadership.

“I want to thank God for blessing me with this talent to play at this level. I also want to thank my parents and my brother for always being there for me. I want to thank Cal, KP (Kenny Payne) and the entire coaching staff for recruiting me and for having the confidence in me to lead this team. Throughout the season they helped me grow as a player and as a person.

“With that being said, I’ve decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft and I will be signing with an agent. I think I’ve had a pretty good freshman season through the guidance of our coaching staff and I think it’s time for me to live out my dream.

“Last but not least, I want to thank the Big Blue Nation. There is no other fan base like you in the country. I’ll miss playing in front of you, but I know you’ll continue to support me at the next level.”

Fox averaged 16.7 points and 4.6 assists per game this season, but he came on strong during the home stretch. During the final 12 games of the season, he averaged 18.8 points and 3.0 assists per game, and flashed some serious potential highlighted by a 39-point outing against UCLA in the Sweet 16 -- a matchup with future lotttery pick Lonzo Ball he unquestionably won.

Fox is an elite point guard in a draft full of them, including Ball, Markelle Fultz and Dennis Smith Jr. CBS Sports experts Howard Megdal and Gary Parrish both currently project Fox as a top-10 pick along with his fellow freshman Malik Monk, assuming Monk declares for the draft as well.

“De’Aaron’s speed, length and ability to pick up defensively from 94 feet set him apart from his peers,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a statement. “De’Aaron came in here focused from day one, and to see his improvement from the beginning of the season to the end was special. What you saw from De’Aaron over the last month and a half of the season I think is what NBA teams will get for the future.”

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