University of Louisville junior forward Jaylen Johnson will forego his final collegiate season, hire an agent and seek a career in professional basketball.
“After a lengthy conversation with Coach P(itino) I have decided to hire an agent and forego my senior year,” Johnson said in a news release by the school. “I will miss my teammates and coaches, but it is really important that I help out my mom and family. I’m going to work incredibly hard to give it my best shot. I’ll be rooting for the Ville next year.”
A 6-foot-9 forward from Ypsilanti, Mich., Johnson started 26 games last season in helping Louisville to a 25-9 record, a tie for second in the ACC and a No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. One of three Cardinals to play in all 34 games, he averaged 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds, ranking 20th in the ACC in rebounding.
“Jaylen and I had a long conversation,” Pitino said. “He feels strongly about trying to make the league and help his family, as they have always been there for him. Jaylen has been a valuable asset to our program and has given me his heart and soul for the last three years. We wish him great success and we will be following his progress closely.”
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Johnson scored in double figures in 14 games as a junior and produced three double-doubles, including his last one with 12 points, 10 rebounds and two steals against Clemson. He blocked a career-high six shots against Southern Illinois, adding nine points and 10 rebounds.