FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Moses Kingsley emerged from the shadow of good friend Bobby Portis to become one of the top players in the Southeastern Conference last season.
Now the Arkansas center plans to see exactly how far he's come in the eyes of professional scouts, announcing his intention to enter the NBA draft.
Kingsley, a 6-foot-10 junior from Nigeria, said he won't hire an agent - leaving open the possibility of his return to an overhauled Razorbacks team in desperate need of his talent and experience following a disappointing 16-16 record this season.
''I feel that getting an evaluation on myself after my junior year is the right thing to do while still keeping eligibility to play for my Hogs,'' Kingsley said Tuesday.
Kingsley has until May 25 to withdraw from the draft and return to Arkansas for his senior year.
Kingsley was a second-team All-SEC selection this season, averaging 15.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his first season as a starter. After backing up Portis, last year's SEC Player of the Year, for two seasons, Kingsley also averaged 2.4 blocks per game and shot 54.8 percent from the field.
He scored in double figures in all but two games for Arkansas this season, including a career-high 26 points in a loss to Dayton. Kingsley also had 11 rebounds in that game, one of 16 double-doubles on the season for the junior.
Coach Mike Anderson offered his support for Kingsley's decision, but Arkansas could use his return next season.
The Razorbacks began this season without nearly 80 percent of their scoring from last year's 27-9 team, and they've already lost two players - Jimmy Whitt and Lorenzo Jenkins - as transfers in recent weeks.
While Anderson has signed a recruiting class that includes three of the top junior-college players in the country, Kingsley is being counted on as the anchor for a team desperate to rebound from this season - one that's reached the NCAA Tournament only once in Anderson's five seasons.
''This is a great opportunity for Moses to get an evaluation for the next level and take full advantage of the new rules in place,'' Anderson said. ''He emerged as one of the elite players in the SEC this year and we fully support his decision to explore his options.''