FAYETTEVILLE — The Arkansas student section held up a banner during the final home game in Bud Walton Arena last month, urging leading scorers BJ Young and Marshawn Powell to return to the Razorbacks for the 2013-14 season.
This week has shown the group of students they won’t get their wish.
Young announced Thursday he will join Powell as an early entry in the 2013 NBA Draft. The St. Louis – much like Powell – made his decision public in a Twitter post that read: “I will be officially entering the 2013 NBA #DRAFT thank you ARKANSAS for everything I have unconditional love for this place and people here.”
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson followed Young’s declaration with a statement.
“I met with BJ and his father today and BJ expressed his interest to enter his name in the NBA Draft,” Anderson said in a news release. “This is his dream and as a coach I encourage him to pursue that dream. I gave him the pros and cons of his decision and he chose to enter the draft. BJ has become a well-rounded player, leading us in scoring and assists and he became a more active rebounder.”
The decision ends Young’s career with the Razorbacks. He also entered the 2012 NBA Draft as a freshman, but didn’t hire an agent and withdrew his name from consideration before the deadline. Young can’t withdraw his name again.
He leaves Arkansas after averaging 15.2 points in his career. The St. Louis native led the Razorbacks in scoring as both a freshman (15.3 points a game) and sophomore (15.2 points a game). Young also averaged 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists as a Hog, earning second-team All-SEC honors from the conference coaches twice.
Young decided to return to Arkansas last spring in hopes of establishing himself as an NBA Draft lottery pick. He improved in some areas of his all-around game, averaging a team-high 3.4 assists to go along with 3.5 rebounds last season.
But his field goal percentage (50.4 as a freshman and 44.8 percent as a sophomore) and 3-point field goal percentage (41.3 in 2011-12 to 23.4 in 2012-13) dropped significantly his second season with the Razorbacks.
So Young leaves Arkansas with mock drafts projected him as being anywhere from a late first- to early second-round selection later this summer.
“I thank all the fans of Arkansas for supporting me,” Young said before the SEC Tournament. “I just love them. I feel like I’ll always have a home here in Arkansas.”
Young’s departure means Arkansas will move on without its top two scorers from 2012-13. Forward Coty Clarke is now the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder after averaging 7.6 points and 5.2 rebounds his first season.
Arkansas also has a scholarship available to fill for the 2012-13 season. The Razorbacks have 10 scholarship players projected to return and signed forwards Bobby Portis and Moses Kingsley last fall.
Programs are allowed to have as many as 13 players on scholarship each season.
“We are always recruiting,” Anderson said during his season-ending press conference last week. “You never stop recruiting. I have been in this business long enough to understand that part of it. And when you talk about scholarships and what we have available, I am sure when that time comes it will work itself out.”