Cal men’s basketball’s Ivan Rabb declares for NBA Draft

Daniel Kim/Staff

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Sophomore forward Ivan Rabb, Cal men’s basketball’s biggest star, announced Wednesday that he will forgo his remaining NCAA eligibility and instead opt to enter this year’s NBA Draft. After surprising many his freshman year by not entering the draft with his then-teammates Jaylen Brown and Tyrone Wallace, Rabb will see if his decision to increase his stock at Cal proves fruitful.

“First, I want to thank everybody for their support. Since the day I committed to Cal, the love from Bay Area fans was overwhelming,” Rabb said in a statement. “I could genuinely tell that people really appreciated seeing me come to Cal and succeed and do well. Haas Pavilion will always hold a special place in my heart, and I won’t forget how incredible it felt to be ‘Oakland’s Own’ as I ran onto the court in front of my friends, family and team.”

In some ways, Rabb’s decision to return to Cal for a second year proved successful. He established himself as one of the top rebounders in the Pac-12 with an 18.3 percent rebound rate, and he led the Pac-12 with 10.5 boards per game. His defense also proved immaculate, posting a 91.6 defensive rating.

His offense did not show as much improvement. His field goal percentage dropped from 61.5 percent — which led the team last season — to 48.4 percent, while his point total fell from 17.5 to 17.2. While the the 6-foot-11 Oakland native was projected to go in the lottery of 2016’s NBA Draft, his somewhat disappointing offensive growth this season caused many to now project him as a late first round pick.

Rabb’s now-official departure now adds to the uncertainty of the Bears’ 2017-2018 season. With the departure of head coach Cuonzo Martin and offensive threats Jabari Bird and Grant Mullins, Cal’s future on the hardwood is anyone’s guess.

Chris Tril is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].