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Creighton player Justin Patton to enter the NBA Draft

Creighton University’s Justin Patton, who is the 2017 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, will apply for the NBA Draft and intends to sign with an agent, according to Creighton officials. (Photo: Creighton)

Creighton University’s Justin Patton, who is the 2017 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year, will apply for the NBA Draft and intends to sign with an agent, according to Creighton officials.

Patton will give up his final three seasons of eligibility with the Bluejays.

Patton and Creighton men’s basketball coach Greg McDermott will hold a press conference on Thursday.

“After much deliberation with my family and the Creighton coaching staff, I have decided the time is right to pursue my dream of playing professional basketball,” said Patton. “I have loved every bit of my two years at Creighton. My teammates were unbelievable, the coaching staff helped me develop, and the fans have been so supportive of our program. Thank you to everyone…I will forever be a Bluejay!”

Patton is an Omaha native. He led Creighton with 6.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game, and was second on the club with 12.9 points per game. He owned 72 dunks during his redshirt freshman season and owned 28 games of 10 or more points, including four games of 20 points or more. The 7-footer’s field goal percentage (67.6 percent) led the BIG EAST, ranked second nationally in 2016-17, and is the best mark in NCAA history by a freshman in a major conference.

Patton is expected to be a highly-coveted post player in the NBA Draft and has been projected as a top-20 pick by Sports Illustrated.

Creighton went 25-10 in 2016-17. The Bluejays tied for third place in the BIG EAST Conference, played in the BIG EAST Tournament final at Madison Square Garden, and reached the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last six seasons.

“I haven’t coached many young men with the talent and potential that Justin has,” said McDermott. “It’s amazing to think of the strides he has made in the last few years, and I’m excited to see where he’ll be a few years from now. Justin’s best basketball is ahead of him, and we look forward to him joining Anthony, Doug and Kyle in the NBA in the very near future.”

The 2017 NBA Draft will take place on June 22nd in New York City.

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