UCLA's Johnny Juzang Withdraws From 2021 NBA Draft, Will Return for Junior Season

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - APRIL 03: Johnny Juzang #3 of the UCLA Bruins reacts in the second half against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the 2021 NCAA Final Four semifinal at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 03, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Guard Johnny Juzang announced Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the 2021 NBA draft and returning to UCLA for his junior season in 2021-22:

Johnny Juzang @JohnnyJuzang

💙💛 !!! <a href="https://twitter.com/UCLAMBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@UCLAMBB</a> <a href="https://t.co/GGh8Ke5ZvQ">pic.twitter.com/GGh8Ke5ZvQ</a>

After playing a small role as a freshman for Kentucky in 2019-20, Juzang broke out the following season after a transfer, averaging 16.0 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game for a Bruins team that surprisingly reached the Final Four.

Regarding Juzang's return, UCLA head coach Mick Cronin noted:

Juzang was especially strong during UCLA's six-game run during the NCAA tournament, which ended with a heartbreaking 93-90 overtime loss to Gonzaga in the Final Four. He averaged 22.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 three-pointers made while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three.

He saved his best performance for last, totaling 29 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals versus Gonzaga.

In Juzang, the Bruins are returning their leading scorer. No. 2 scorer Chris Smith, who appeared in only eight games last season, is likely to be UCLA's only significant loss.

Among the other players set to return in 2021-22 are guards Jaime Jaquez Jr., Tyger Campbell and Jules Bernard, as well as forward Cody Riley. The Bruins are also adding 5-star forward Peyton Watson, 247Sports' No. 8 prospect.

The team only went 17-9 (13-6 in the Pac-12) before the NCAA tournament last season and needed to win a play-in game to reach the field of 64, so there is plenty of room for UCLA to improve its pre-tournament record next season.


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