UCLA Bruins sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt has decided to leave school early to enter the NBA draft, the school announced today. The 6-foot-8, 188-pound forward was a local product, out of Sylmar High School in Los Angeles. Honeycutt hasn't yet hired an agent, and has until May 8 if he decides he wants to return to the Bruins, provided he doesn't hire an agent. Though that seems like a formality, per ESPN:
Among those who advised Honeycutt was Bort Escoto, his former coach at Sylmar High.
"I advised him that he needed to be absolutely ready and that if he had any doubts whatsoever he needed to go back to school," Escoto said.
Honeycutt is a versatile player who led UCLA this season in both three-pointers made (55) and blocked shots (68). He averaged 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest. Honeycutt had a career-high eight blocks in a win over Oregon State on October 12. Honeycutt was one of three Bruins to garner All Pac-10 First Team honors, along with Macolm Lee and Reeves Nelson.
The folks at Bruins Nation are not fans of the trend of Bruins leaving Ben Howland's program early:
There are also those lingering questions about why players continue to flee from Howland's program as if they are trying to get out some basketball jail. It's not a pleasant situation and the uncomfortable feelings are going to stick around this program until Howland can put together an elite season next year.
Howland cannot use Honeycutt's departure as an excuse if he falls short next season. He needs to find a way to work this if he continues to fail in retaining elite talent in this program. Folks here will not be in the mood to listen to excuses next season.
For more UCLA hoops news, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Bruins Nation.