Kansas freshman Joel Embiid has declared for the 2014 NBA Draft, the 7-0 center announced Wednesday in a formal press conference alongside head coach Bill Self at Allen Fieldhouse.
The 2014 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Embiid broke the KU freshman record for blocked shots with 72 and his 2.6 blocked shots per game finished second in the league. Named to the 2014 All-Big 12 Second Team, Embiid led KU with 8.1 rebounds per game - also a KU freshman record - and good for sixth in the Big 12.
"I just want to thank God first for giving me this opportunity to come to the (United States) and play ball," Embiid said. "I want to thank the coaching staff, my teammates, the fans - everyone that's helped me through my journey. After thinking a lot, I've decided to declare for the NBA Draft."
The 7-0 Yaoundé, Cameroon, native averaged 11.2 points per game and his 62.6 field goal percentage broke yet another KU rookie record. Additionally, Embiid was named to the 2014 Freshman All-America Team, along with teammate Andrew Wiggins, by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
Embiid was a two-time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week - Dec. 2, 2013 and Jan. 20, 2014 - and was named the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week and CBSSports.com National Player of the Week on Jan. 21, 2014 after averaging a double-double with 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds to go along with 13 blocked shots in KU victories against then-top-10 opponents Iowa State (1/13) and Oklahoma State (1/18). Included was a KU freshman-record eight blocked shots against OSU.