James Young declares for draft

Kentucky freshman James Young is the first Wildcat to officially declare for the NBA draft.

Young, a 6-foot-6 Michigan native, made the announcement on Thursday via a statement from the school. According to several NBA executives, Young is a lock first-round pick and could be selected late in the lottery.

"My time at Kentucky has been special to me, something I'll always treasure, but I feel that I'm ready to take the next step to the NBA," Young said. "I've learned more this year, on and off the court, about life from Coach Cal and the staff and appreciate all of their guidance and support. I can't say enough about my teammates; the journey helped us build a bond that we will always share for the rest of our lives."

Young averaged 14.3 points this past season and shot just 41 percent from the field, including 35 percent from 3-point range. NBA folks love his length and ability to make shots from deep -- even though he was inconsistent from that area as a freshman. Young made 42.6 percent of his 3-point attempts in the NCAA tournament and averaged 18.5 points in the Final Four. Kentucky lost to Connecticut in the national title game.

Kentucky sophomore big man Willie Cauley-Stein announced he will return for his junior campaign.

The Wildcats are still awaiting decisions from projected lottery pick Julius Randle -- as well as twins Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress.