HARTFORD, Conn. — Adama Sanogo, who was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four after leading the UConn men to the national championship, is putting is name in for the NBA draft.
Sanogo, a native of Mali who played at The Patrick School in New Jersey before coming to UConn, was a Husky for three years. This past season, he averaged a team-leading 17.7 points and 7.2 rebounds. In the NCAA Tournament, he averaged 19.7 points and 9.8 rebounds, scoring 17 against San Diego State in the championship game.
At 6-foot-9, Sanogo has been considered a bit undersized for an NBA frontcourt player. As a junior, he increased his value by adding the 3-point shot to his game, hitting 36.5% of his attempts.
Sanogo thanked UConn and fans in a message to his Instagram account Thursday.
"Thank you UConn. Thank you to the best fans in the country that have supported me from the first day I got to Storrs. Thank you to the incredible support and guidance from Coach Hurley and the staff. They invested the time and energy to making me a better player and person. Most importantly thank you to my family, and support system that has always allowed me to focus on reaching my dreams and have sacrificed so much for me.
"I am so excited for the next stop on my journey and proud to announce that I will declare for the 2023 NBA Draft and will stay focused on the process and giving myself every chance possible to hear my name called. I will always cherish my time at UConn and will always be my home away from home."
Coach Dan Hurley has repeatedly touted Sanogo as an NBA prospect, but he has not been appearing on any of the major analysts' mock drafts. The chance to work out for scouts and executives in the pre-draft process, couple with his winning pedigree, could get Sanogo an opportunity late in the two-round draft, or as a free agent.
Sanogo could have opted to return to UConn, or transfer out, but given the NBA's emphasis on age, it's doubtful his stock would rise with another college season. If he does not make an NBA roster he can continue is development in the G League or overseas.
"He's come such a long way," Hurley said during the Final Four. "He's a younger player than the junior that he is. He's grown so much, his knowledge of the game. But for a guy that's only been playing basketball for six years, he's a sponge. His work ethic is off the charts. He watches tons of film. He's learned a lot of basketball concepts, which it's tough for international players that don't have the experience, especially coming from Mali."
Meanwhile, Sanogo's departure will give Donovan Clingan, who is returning as a sophomore next season, the chance to play full-time.
In any event, Sanogo has had a consequential UConn career.
"He's obviously cemented himself into the pantheon of greatest," Hurley said following the championship game. "Obviously, the greatest big guys with all the production and back-to-back First Team all-league, and now this, to have the national championship just puts him in a position in one of the most storied programs in college basketball. He's an all-time great."
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