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UCLA’s Aaron Holiday, WSU’s Robert Franks declare for NBA Draft

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More talent is leaving the Pac-12

NCAA Basketball: Washington State at UCLA Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona’s Allonzo Trier and USC’s Chimezie Metu aren’t the only juniors leaving the Pac-12 for the NBA.

UCLA point guard Aaron Holiday and Washington State forward Robert Franks declared for the NBA Draft on Monday, stripping the conference of two more of its most talented players.

Holiday, a member of the All-Pac-12 First Team, was the conference’s top player not named Deandre Ayton this past season, averaging 20.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 3.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 46 percent from the field, 43 percent from 3, and 83 percent from the charity stripe.

Holiday is pegged as the No. 23 pick in ESPN’s NBA mock draft. His two older brothers, Jrue and Justin, both play in the NBA.

Had Aaron Holiday returned to UCLA, he would have likely been the favorite to be the Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Franks, the Pac-12’s Most Improved Player, averaged 17.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest while shooting .476/.405/.854 for the second-to-last place Cougars.

Both him and Holiday intend to hire agents, meaning there is no chance they can return to school next season.

Franks’ decision is much more surprising than Holiday’s, but both weaken the Pac-12, which was already the worst major-conference in college basketball this past season (and by a wide margin, per KenPom).

Not to mention that its champion, Arizona, is also losing Ayton, Rawle Alkins, and the rest of its starting five, and has zero incoming recruits as of now.

Oregon does return some quality talent, and it has a top-five recruiting class (so does UCLA), but it looks like it could be another rough year in the so-called Conference of Champions, which failed to win a single NCAA Tournament game this March.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire