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UCLA’s Adem Bona declares for NBA draft, won’t hire agent

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Second Round-Northwestern vs UCLA

Mar 18, 2023; Sacramento, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Adem Bona (3) reacts during the second half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Golden 1 Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Adem Bona became the fifth UCLA player to declare for the NBA draft, although the Pac-12 freshman of the year could still return to Westwood.

The forward-center from Nigeria announced his plans on his Instagram account. Bona averaged 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks while starting 32 of 33 games last season.

“Ever since I picked up a basketball, it has always been my dream to show that I could play at the highest level,” Bona wrote. “With that being said, I have decided to declare for the 2023 NBA Draft.”

However, coach Mick Cronin said in a statement that Bona will retain his eligibility, which means he won’t be hiring an agent.

“We will support Adem through this process with the NBA,” Cronin said in a statement. “He’s still in school and he will retain his eligibility. He is rehabbing daily from his shoulder injury. We will support him and Jaylen Clark as they navigate through this process.”

Bona joins freshman Amari Bailey, seniors Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Clark in declaring for the draft. Clark, a junior, could retain his remaining eligibility if he doesn’t hire an agent ahead of the June 22 draft.

The 6-foot-10 Bona finished second in the Pac-12 in overall field-goal percentage (67%) and was fourth in blocks per game (1.7). He was named to the All-Pac-12 freshman team and the league’s All-Defensive team.