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The longest mainstay on the Bruins’ roster has decided to bid farewell and forgo his final year of eligibility.

Cody Riley’s five-year journey with UCLA men’s basketball has come to a close, the veteran forward announced Friday on Instagram. The Bruins’ longtime forward had the option to return to Westwood for his super senior and sixth overall season, but instead decided to part ways with the Bruins in favor of a pro career.

Riley declared for the 2021 NBA Draft after the 2020-2021 campaign and took part in workouts for several NBA teams before deciding to return to UCLA. He did the same back in 2018, but returned back then as well.

Since Riley missed the deadline to declare for the NBA Draft by nearly two weeks, his professional career will presumably begin overseas.

Returning to the Bruins’ roster for his final season, Riley started at center for 20 of the 26 games he played in, but largely split time with graduate center Myles Johnson. An MCL sprain in the Nov. 9 season opener against Cal State Bakersfield cut down game time, but Riley received ample minutes – 21.6 per game – once he returned in January.

The fifth-year forward averaged 7.3 points on 46.2% shooting, 3.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 0.4 blocks per game during his final season.

Riley got to UCLA in 2017 and immediately faced controversy during the Bruins’ trip to China to begin the season. Alongside fellow freshmen Jalen Hill and LiAngelo Ball, the trio shoplifted sunglasses from a store and were arrested, ultimately becoming unavailable for the season opener in Shanghai.

After Riley, Hill and Ball returned to the United States, the latter left the university while the freshman forwards faced season-long suspensions that acted as redshirt years on their collegiate records.

Following Riley’s redshirt campaign, he became a regular rotation player in 2018-2019 and transitioned into a starting role during the 2019-2020 slate. In 2020-2021, the 6-foot-9 post helped guide UCLA to the Final Four, serving as a catalyst on the block for the Bruins in their six March Madness games.

That season marked several statistical high points for Riley, who averaged 10.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists a night before notching double-doubles in the Round of 32 and Final Four versus Abilene Christian and Gonzaga, respectively.

Throughout his career at UCLA, Riley averaged 7.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 0.4 blocks per game, while shooting 50.5% from the field and 60.6% from the free throw line. Riley totaled eight career double-doubles and racked up a total of 938 points and 530 rebounds in his 118 appearances.

Now that Riley and Johnson – who retired from basketball a week earlier – are removed from the equation for the 2022-2023 season, coach Mick Cronin can shuffle around minutes to incoming freshman Adem Bona, rising redshirt sophomore Mac Etienne and rising redshirt senior Kenny Nwuba. The Bruins have two spare scholarships too, so they may end up being in the market for an additional big man in the transfer portal.

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