“I want to thank everyone who has truly helped me throughout my journey, you know who you are, including Coach (Sean) Miller for giving me the opportunity to play in front of the best fans in the country,” Mannion said in a statement. “I’ll always be proud to be part of the Wildcat family! Lastly, I want to give special thanks to my parents for giving me unmatched support and love. Couldn’t do it without you guys.”
Mannion averaged 14.0 points, 5.3 assists, and 2.6 turnovers per game in his lone season at Arizona, but struggled with his shot, only converting 39.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 32.7 percent of his 3s.
Still, the former five-star recruit is projected as a first-round pick by all major media outlets, with some predicting he will be a lottery pick:
- Bleacher Report: 17th
- ESPN: 14th
- The Athletic: 29th
- SB Nation: 15th
- CBS: 17th (Kyle Boone) and 18th (Gary Parrish)
- Sports Illustrated: 17th
- Sporting News: 10th
Mannion joins Zeke Nnaji in the NBA Draft pool, and fellow freshman Josh Green is expected to declare any day now, giving Arizona a real shot of producing three first-round picks in the same draft for the first time in program history.
Mannion was always expected to be a one-and-done, and Miller all but confirmed that in January when he said “we’re gonna lose Nico” when discussing the importance of the addition of Georgetown transfer James Akinjo.
While most Arizona fans would probably describe Mannion’s freshman season as underwhelming, he could have flipped that narrative with a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, he was robbed of that opportunity when it was canceled by the coronavirus crisis.
“The past 24 hours have felt like a bad dream,” he said on social media at the time.
Tuesday, Mannion had a much different tone.
“Time to chase a dream,” he said.