Jalen Hudson announces return to Florida basketball for final season

By Adam Silverstein
May 29, 2018
Jalen Hudson announces return to Florida basketball for final season

Image Credit: ESPN Images

Two months after declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft, redshirt junior guard Jalen Hudson confirmed he will be rejoining the Florida Gators.

Citing the player’s father, Jon Rothstein initially reported Tuesday that Hudson would remove his name from the draft and return to the Gators to exhaust his collegiate eligibility. Hudson is able to make this move as he did not hire an agent after declaring for the draft. The deadline for withdrawal is Wednesday.

The player confirmed as much early Wednesday.

“I’d like to thank all the NBA teams for allowing me to work out and spend some time with them as I was weighing my options for the NBA Draft,” Hudson said in a school release. “I’ve learned a lot throughout this process. After much thought and prayer, I’ve decided to return to Florida to graduate and to play my senior season. I’m excited to play with my teammates again in front of Gator Nation and ultimately fulfill my dreams in playing in the NBA. Go Gators!”

Once he made his NBA intentions known in March, Hudson began attending workouts and meeting with team representatives. It was expected — and erroneously reported — that Hudson would be invited to the 2018 NBA Draft Combine, but he ultimately was not included on the list of invitees. That was at least some writing on the wall that a return to Florida was more likely than not, though Hudson could have chosen to play overseas or in the NBA G-League.

Hudson averaged 15.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 26.6 per minutes per game for Florida in 2017-18, his lone active season with the program after sitting out a transfer year following two seasons with Virginia Tech. He has one year of collegiate eligibility remaining and will slot right back into the Gators’ starting five.

With Hudson returning, Florida has lost two starters from last season in point guard Chris Chiozza and G Egor Koulechov. Seniors G KeVaughn Allen and forward/center Kevarrius Hayes will start alongside Hudson with the other two positions up for grabs.

Redshirt senior center John Egbunu, who sat out the entire 2017-18 season with a torn ACL, also declared for the draft but is not expected to return despite being a longshot to be selected in the two-round affair.

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