Arizona forward Grant Jerrett has NBA potential but nothing about his freshman season in Tucson appears to indicate he's ready to make that jump.
Yet, the 6-foot-10 product of Chino Hills, Calif., has decided to turn pro after a freshman season in which he averaged just 5.2 points a game and 3.6 rebounds. Those are not the numbers of a first-round pick, and if Jerrett isn't going to be a first-round selection, why go now?
Jerrett's decision is one of the big head-scratchers in recent memory. He is coming off a season in which he wasn't always heavily involved for the Wildcats. He started two of the 34 games in which he played and averaged 18 minutes a game.
“Today, with the support of my family, I made the decision to enter the 2013 NBA Draft and pursue my lifelong dream of playing professional basketball,” Jerrett said in press release from the school late Wednesday night. “I would like to thank all Wildcat fans, my teammates and coaches for making my year in Tucson an incredible experience. I will forever be an Arizona Wildcat.”
Jerrett scored in double figures only five times all season and grabbed five or more rebounds only 11 times. He scored a season-best 15 points against Oral Roberts in December and grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds against UCLA in January. He finished fifth on his team with 32 3-point field goals.
He is certainly capable of getting there eventually and maybe as soon as 2014. He was among the most highly recruited players in the nation a year ago as a McDonald's All-American, but it remains to be seen if his potential will be enough to get him drafted and at one point in the draft that happens.
Players who aren't picked in the first round generally don't receive guaranteed contracts and a lot of second-round picks end up spending significant time in the NBA Development league or overseas.
“I would like to wish Grant well as he pursues his goal of becoming a part of the NBA,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said in the press release. “Not only is Grant a talented player, but he is an even better person with a wonderful and supportive family. I look forward to helping him in any way that I can as he moves forward in his basketball career.”