MIAMI — Miami Hurricanes freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV says he’ll turn pro this year, a move anticipated even before his college career began.
Walker announced Wednesday on Twitter that he’ll hire an agent, which will prevent him from returning to the Hurricanes, and plans to enter the NBA draft. Many projections list him as a lottery pick.
The 6-foot-4 Walker’s departure is no surprise. A year ago, Miami coach Jim Larranaga said Walker would likely be a one-and-done.
“I’m here making a decision that I thought would never come true,” Walker wrote on Twitter. “After reviewing my options with family and coaches, I’ve decided to enter the 2018 NBA Draft and will hire an agent.”
Walker became the first freshman to lead the Hurricanes in scoring since 2001. He averaged 11.5 points while shooting 42 percent, and averaged 13.6 points in Atlantic Coast Conference games.
“He’s an extremely mature and talented young man, both as a player and as a student,” Larranaga said in a statement. “We have tremendous confidence in him and believe he is going to be a terrific NBA player. Whichever organization drafts him will have a gem on their hands.”
Walker was perhaps the most highly regarded prospect in school history when Larranaga signed him out of Reading, Pennsylvania, in late 2016. He’s believed to be the first Hurricanes player to turn pro after his freshman season.
“The University of Miami exceeded by expectations,” Walker wrote. “From school, sports, the environment and last but not least, the Canes fans. This city has welcomed me with open arms and supported me at my lowest of lows, but also my highest of highs.”
Miami sophomores Bruce Brown Jr. and Dewan Huell have said they’ll declare for the draft but won’t retain an agent, leaving them the option of continuing their college careers.
The Hurricanes lost to Loyola of Chicago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and finished 22-10.