UCLA men’s basketball’s Jaylen Clark declares for 2023 NBA Draft
Junior guard Jaylen Clark elevates for a fastbreak layup. Clark announced Wednesday that he is declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft. (Jeremy Chen/Assistant Photo editor)
By Jon Christon
March 29, 2023 1:01 p.m.
Jaylen Clark is saying goodbye to Westwood.
The UCLA men’s basketball junior guard is declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft, he announced in an Instagram post Wednesday afternoon. It is unknown if the guard will sign with an agent and officially forgo his two remaining years of collegiate eligibility.
“I’d like to thank everyone that has helped me get this far,” Clark said in his post. “Thank you to UCLA and coach Cronin for believing in me. I’d like to announce that I am declaring for the 2023 Draft.”
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Clark tweeted a goodbye to the Bruin faithful after UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga last Thursday.
“I went from the kid from riverside who no one believed in and had to play center to get in the game. To the best defensive player in college basketball!” Clark wrote. “I appreciate all of the UCLA fans and Pauley Pavilion. Jrock out.”
Clark is coming off a breakout junior year, averaging a career-high 13 points and six rebounds per game while adding a conference-leading 2.6 steals a night. Clark also won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, the first Bruin to win the award since Russell Westbrook in 2008.
However, Clark was slated to miss most, if not all, of the 2023-2024 campaign with an Achilles injury sustained in a matchup against Arizona on March 4. He had surgery the next day for the injury and did not play in the postseason, but an exact timetable for his recovery is unclear.
The former four-star recruit from Riverside, California, ends his Bruin career with three-year averages of 7.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.
A part of UCLA’s 2021 Final Four run, Clark’s minutes and role steadily increased in his three years with the Bruins. He started all but one game he played in this past season after starting six the year before and made a number of big plays as a member of the blue and gold, including a game-winning 3 against crosstown rival USC in January.