STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut’s Kemba Walker announced he will enter the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-1 All-American guard led the Huskies to a 32-9 record, including an 11-0 postseason run that ended with a national championship. Walker is expected to be a first-round pick, and perhaps the second guard chosen behind Duke’s Kyrie Irving.
Walker averaged 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists during his junior season, and scored a school record 965 points, accounting for 45 percent of the Huskies’ offense.
Walker on Tuesday thanked coach Jim Calhoun “for turning me into a man.”
Walker has not yet hired an agent.
“There’s no chance that I’m coming back,” Walker said before joking: “Like coach said, he doesn’t have a scholarship for me.”
Walker came into the season averaging just under 12 points a game, but quickly established himself as the team’s unquestioned leader, scoring 31, 30 and 29 points in powering the Huskies to the Maui Invitational title in November.
He scored 30 or more points 11 times during the season, and 20 or more points 27 times, winning the Bob Cousy award as the nation’s top point guard.
Last week, Walker became the 14th Connecticut player to have his name and number placed on the “Huskies of Honor” wall in Gampel Pavilion – the first to receive the honor while he was still in school. The honor means any future Huskies will have to ask Walker for permission if they want to wear his No. 15.
Walker is the 13th Connecticut player to leave school early. Center Hasheem Thabeet was the last in 2009.
Walker finishes his career in seventh place on the school’s scoring list with 1,783 points in 111 games.
His departure means Connecticut will return four starters and nine players from its national championship team next season. The Huskies also will add another point guard in Ryan Boatright, a blue chip recruit from Illinois.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)