BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU sophomore forward Jordan Mickey, who led the nation with 3.65 blocks per game this season, has decided to forego his final two year with the Tigers and enter the NBA draft.
''This was a tough decision because I hate to leave my teammates and LSU family. We have been through a lot in the past two years as we have grown as a team. " Mickey said in a statement released by LSU on Tuesday. ''After discussing my options with my family, I believe it is my time to move on and accept new challenges at the next level.''
The 6-foot-8 Mickey blocked 113 shots this season, with 107 blocks in 30 regular season games and six more in LSU's opening-round NCAA tournament loss to North Carolina State.
Mickey, who'll turn 21 in July, averaged 15.4 points and 9.9 rebounds this season, but saw his production slip in the latter third of the season because of a left shoulder injury.
''I wanted things to end on a better note, but due to injuries I was limited in what I could do for my team,'' Mickey said. ''Trust that I gave it my all.''
In his two seasons with the Tigers, the Dallas native blocked 219 shots, second most all-time by an LSU player, behind only Shaquille O'Neal's 412 blocks in three seasons from 1989-90 to 1991-92.
Mickey was the only player to block more than 100 shots in a season at LSU other than O'Neal. Mickey, named an All-Southeastern Conference first-team player in 2015, led the SEC in double-doubles with 16.
''Jordan's growth, hard work and competitive spirit allowed us to compete at a higher level,'' third-year LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ''We want to wish Jordan and his family all the best.''
LSU won at least 20 games in each of Mickey's two seasons and this season returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years. LSU narrowly failed to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament, losing 66-65 to North Carolina State on Beejay Anya's shot over Mickey in the final seconds.
Next year, the void left by Mickey will likely be filled by 6-9 power forward Craig Victor, a Louisiana native who has transferred from Arizona. LSU also has a pair of highly rated recruits coming in: forward Ben Simmons and guard Antonio Blakeny.
''This is just the beginning for LSU,'' Mickey said. ''I'm confident great things are coming in the near future for this team as they continue to grow.''