Coming off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003, Auburn will be without leading scorer Mustapha Heron in 2018-19. The Waterbury, Connecticut, native announced on Twitter Wednesday morning that he will declare for the NBA Draft and sign with an agent.
247Sports was the first to report the news.
"First off, I would like to thank the man up stairs for making all of this possible," Heron wrote on Twitter. "I have always dreamed of playing basketball at the highest level and now he is making that a reality for me. I would like to thank my coaches, my teammates, all the Auburn fans and Auburn University for a wonderful 2 years.
Just want to reiterate I have not hired an agent yet but I do plan on it in the future— Mustapha Heron (@Kingheron5) April 4, 2018
"Playing on the plains was an experience like no other and I wouldn't trade it for the world! With that being said, after discussing with my family, I have decided to forgo my junior season at Auburn and enter my name in the 2018 NBA draft with intent to sign an agent."
Heron averaged 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 32 games last season, but the guard was not included in Sports Illustrated’s latest mock draft.
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"Again I would like to thank everybody who supported me throughout this process and I will forever be a Tiger!!! WAR EAGLE," Heron wrote.
We're very excited for Mustapha as he has decided to test the NBA Draft waters. He is the first 5-star signee in program history and helped changed the culture here at Auburn. We will support him in every way we can and wish him nothing but the best! War Eagle!— Bruce Pearl (@coachbrucepearl) April 4, 2018
Auburn will look to reload on the perimeter with the reinstatement of Danjel Purifoy and VCU transfer Samir Doughty.
“I’m really excited for Mustapha,” head coach Bruce Pearl said in a statement. “He came to Auburn to make history and to bring credibility to our program. As a freshman, he was one of the all-time best freshmen ever to play at Auburn. As a sophomore, he became a better defender and leader and he helped Auburn win its third regular season SEC championship in program history. At this point, Mustapha has not hired an agent in order to maintain his eligibility. However, he does intend to sign with an agent at some point. His intention is to stay in the draft. We are really excited for him.”
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