Johnny Juzang, Cody Riley return to UCLA basketball after testing NBA waters

UCLA basketball players Johnny Juzang and Cody Riley will return to the program for another season after testing the NBA waters this offseason. Juzang and Riley officially withdrew their names from the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft on Wednesday before the 9 p.m. PT deadline.

Juzang will be returning for his junior season and Riley will be a redshirt senior for the 2021-22 campaign.

“Going through the draft process has been an amazing experience,” Juzang wrote on his Instagram. “I was blessed to connect with great people, learn and grow, and get a feel for life at the next level”

Juzang, a 6-foot-7 wing, averaged 16 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 27 games (26 starts) for UCLA, which finished the season 22-10, including a magical run to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis before falling to Gonzaga, 93-90, in overtime. Juzang was a second-team All-Pac 12 selection and was named to the All-NCAA Tournament team after averaging a tournament-high 22.8 points in six games. He shot 50.9 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range.

“Westwood, I can’t wait to go to war! We’ve got a team full of warriors and there’s nobody I’d rather fight beside. With Coach (Mick) Cronin and our staff, I’m very excited for this season. Let’s do something special!”

After Juzang’s performance in the NCAA Tournament, including games with 23, 27, 28 and 29 points, his appeal from NBA teams grew as a big-body guard who can shoot and spread the floor. The former Harvard-Westlake High standout, who ascended from benchwarmer in his one season at Kentucky to household name during March Madness, decided to test the NBA waters by declaring for the draft while still maintaining his collegiate eligibility on April 20.

I’ve enjoyed the process and want to thank the NBA teams for the positive feedback I have received,” Riley said. “I am very excited to announce that I am returning to UCLA. My goals of graduating and helping UCLA and my teammates chase a championship have me more motivated than I have ever been. I can’t wait for our first official summer workout soon.

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