Taylor Hendricks, a freshman at UCF, has applied to the NBA draft

Taylor Hendricks, a freshman at UCF, has applied to the NBA draft

UCF freshman Taylor Hendricks will renounce his leftover college qualification and enter the 2023 NBA draft, he told on Wednesday.

Hendricks claims that as his NBA representation, he has signed with attorney Raymond Brothers, president of Roc Nation basketball.

“I want to thank my mom and brothers Tyler and Jamal,” Hendricks said. “Also, UCF and Coach Johnny Dawkins for pushing me to develop my game and help get me where I am now. Also, I want to thank the Lord for ordering my steps through this whole journey.”

Hendricks, ranked No. 12 in ESPN’s NBA draft projections, was named second-team All-AAC after a season in which he averaged 15.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks while shooting 39% for 3.

He set a conference record by winning rookie of the week on nine separate occasions and led all AAC freshmen in each of those categories.

In just one season, Hendricks rose from being ranked outside of the top 50 in his high school recruiting class to a potential top-10 pick in college basketball.

“A big part of that was choosing the right school,” Hendricks said. “A place that would let me grow and give me the opportunity to show my skills and develop.”

Hendricks made steady progress in basketball, winning a state championship as a freshman at University School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with current NBA players Scottie Barnes and Vernon Carey Jr. and Michigan freshman Jett Howard, who is expected to be a top-20 pick in the 2023 draft. After enrolling at Calvary Christian Academy with his twin brother Tyler, he became the highest-rated recruit in UCF history. He declined scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State, Miami, LSU, and others.

“I picked UCF because of the fit and the relationships I built,” Hendricks said. “The coaching staff made a big effort to build a good relationship with my entire family. They told how I would fit and exactly what my role would be. I wanted to go somewhere I’d play my first year and they offered me that opportunity.”

Hendricks made a big impact right away at UCF, impressing NBA scouts with his combination of defensive versatility, high level of intensity, and perimeter shooting. In 34 games, he hit 61 of 155 3-pointers. He posted some of his best games against Houston, Florida, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma State, demonstrating that he could have excelled anywhere in the country. He was consistently productive against the top teams on UCF’s schedule.

“It really came down just trying to win,” Hendricks. “Trying to do everything in my skill set to compete every time I stepped on the court, and not going outside of what coach asked me to do. Just playing my role.”

UCF advanced to the NIT by defeating Florida in the opening round on the road in Gainesville, before falling to Oregon this past weekend.

NBA teams say that Hendricks is an analytics model favorite because he is young and can fill in every category of the stat sheet without having to be called on to play. This suggests that he should be considered as a top-10 pick.

“It doesn’t matter where I’m drafted,” Hendricks said. “I’ll be there for a reason. I will make the best of any situation.”

Chicago will host the NBA draft combine from May 15-21, and Brooklyn will host the draft on June 22.

Raeesa Sayyad

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