LSU’s Watford declares for NBA draft, intends to sign with agent

LSU sophomore forward Trendon Watford announced Wednesday that he was declaring for the NBA draft. PHOTO by Jonathan Mailhes

LSU forward Trendon Watford put his toe in the NBA draft waters after his freshman season a year ago before returning to school to help the Tigers reach the second round of the 2021 NCAA tournament.

After a sophomore year improving in most statistical categories, the 6-9 Birmingham, Ala. native announced on his social media account Wednesday he’s bypassing his final two years of eligibility and entering the NBA draft.

He said that he planned to hire an agent but could still return to school if he signs with an agent certified by the NCAA – a rule the sport’s governing body passed nearly three years ago.

Watford started in 58 of 59 games in his career, averaging 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds and shot 48.4 percent from the field.

His draft prospects appear marginal at best. In the NBA’s two-round, 60-player draft, he’s rated the No. 98 player according to NBADraft.net.

“To the fans and city of Baton Rouge, I appreciate the love and support y’all have shown me from the day I stepped on campus,” Watford said. “LSU will always have a special place in my heart. I’m proud to call Baton Rouge my second home. Thank you for embracing a kid from Birmingham, Alabama as one of your own. It’s been an honor to wear the purple and gold. These past two years have been a complete joy.”

Watford signed with LSU as a five-star recruit out of Birmingham’s Mountain Brook High School and made an immediate impact on the Tigers’ program.

He started in 30 of 31 games in 2019-20, registering seven double-doubles as an All-SEC freshman honoree. He averaged 13.6 points and pulled down 7.6 rebounds for an LSU team that went 21-10 and was second during the SEC’s regular season when the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the league’s postseason tournament and NCAA tournament.

Watford was a first-team All-SEC selection this past season after helping LSU to a 19-10 overall record and 11-6 in the SEC. He was the Tigers’ second-leading scorer (16.3) and rebounder (7.4) and shot 48 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from 3-point range and was second on the team with 82 assists.

He scored in double figures 23 times with six double-doubles and had 10 games of 20-plus points, including a career-high 30 in an 80-79 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game on March 14, earning a spot on the SEC’s all-tournament team.

The Tigers went on to defeat St. Bonaventure (76-61) in an opening-round NCAA tournament game before falling to East Regional top-seed Michigan (86-78).

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