BOZICH | Johnson leaving Louisville but likely won't be drafted - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Johnson leaving Louisville but likely won't be drafted

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Jaylen Johnson (left) will forego his final season at Louisville for pro basketball. (AP photo) Jaylen Johnson (left) will forego his final season at Louisville for pro basketball. (AP photo)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- University of Louisville forward Jaylen Johnson is not listed as a selection in the major 2017 mock NBA Drafts.

Certainly not in the first round. Not even in the second.

A similar outlook has not stopped other players from leaving college with eligibility remaining — and it is not stopping Johnson.

After starting 26 games and averaging 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds, Johnson will forgo his senior season to start his professional career.

Johnson was not listed among the Top 100 draft prospects by Chad Ford of ESPN.com in his latest update.

His announcement comes one week after Johnson pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana in Woodford County, Kentucky and agreed to pay a fine.

Here is the official announcement from Louisville:

"After a lengthy conversation with Coach P I have decided to hire an agent and forgo my senior year,” said Johnson.  “I will miss my teammates and coaches, but it is really important that I help out my mom and family. I'm going to work incredibly hard to give it my best shot. I'll be rooting for the Ville next year."

A 6-9 forward from Ypsilanti, Mich., Johnson started 26 games last season in helping U of L to a 25-9 record, a tie for second in the ACC and a No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll.  One of three Cardinals to play in all 34 games, he averaged 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds, ranking 20th in the ACC in rebounding.

"Jaylen and I had a long conversation," said U of L Coach Rick Pitino. "He feels strongly about trying to make the league and help his family, as they have always been there for him.  Jaylen has been a valuable asset to our program and has given me his heart and soul for the last three years. We wish him great success and we will be following his progress closely."

Johnson scored in double figures in 14 games as a junior and produced three double-doubles, including his last one with 12 points, 10 rebounds and two steals against Clemson. He blocked a career-high six shots against Southern Illinois, adding nine points and 10 rebounds.

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