By CODY WORSHAM | Tiger Rag Editor
Antonio Blakeney will enter the 2017 NBA draft, he announced on Twitter Tuesday night.
“I appreciate the fans who took me in as family from the day I committed, which makes this bittersweet,” he wrote. “After weeks of discussion, thoughts and prayers, I have decided to take the next step in my basketball career. With that being said, I would like to announced that I’m entering the 2017 NBA Draft.”
Blakeney did not indicate if he will hire an agent. If he doesn’t, he could still return to LSU with his eligibility after testing the NBA waters, thanks to new rules passed last year, but sources tell Tiger Rag his time in Baton Rouge is almost surely over.
Blakeney, a sophomore from Sarasota, Fla., averaged 17.2 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting last season to earn Second Team All-SEC honors. He finished his two-year tenure as a Tiger just 52 points shy of 1,000.
A former five-star signee for Johnny Jones, Blakeney joined Ben Simmons and Brandon Sampson in a highly-touted 2015 recruiting class. He averaged 12.6 points per game as a freshman, including more than 18 per night over LSU’s last 10.
LSU didn’t make postseason play in either of Blakeney’s seasons on campus. The Tigers went 19-14 his freshman season, and 10-21 in 2016-17, including a 2-16 conference record.
“Everything is a learning experience,” Blakeney told Tiger Rag before the SEC Tournament. “Coming in as a freshman, we didn’t make the tournament. I didn’t think that would happen, with me Ben and Sampson coming in and the guys we had coming back. That wasn’t expected… Just learning. Basketball goes by real fast. I feel like yesterday I was driving down here to be a freshman in summer school. I know I have a long career in basketball. Just take everything as an experience and get better from it and learn from it.”