Colorado forward Jabari Walker declares for 2022 NBA Draft, will maintain college eligibility
One of the biggest driving forces behind a 21-win season and a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12 for Colorado a season ago is moving on.
Jabari Walker, a 6-foot-9 second-year forward, officially declared for the 2022 NBA Draft on Wednesday, though he does plan to maintain his college eligibility and leave open the potential to return to Boulder. “Reaching the NBA has always been a dream of mine and I plan to pursue that goal with everything I can this spring,” he wrote in a post shared to social media.
— zach ritenour (@zachritenour) March 30, 2022
Walker was wonderful for the Buffs this season, leading the Pac-12 in rebounds at 9.4 a game and finishing fourth in the league in scoring at 14.6 a night.
He earned All-Pac-12 First Team honors after recording 17 double-doubles and 16 games with at least 15 points in 33 starts. Walker shot 46% from the field for the season while showing off some touch from beyond the arc. On more than three attempts a game from 3-point range, Walker connected on 35% of his triples this season. Among Pac-12 players, he ended the year seventh in PER.
But his stock is a little tough to peg. He’s not in ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony’s most recent full mock draft and doesn’t seem to be a first-round guy by any of the usual projectors.
His departure will be a significant development for CU coach Tad Boyle going forward. The Buffs have a promising young backcourt to work with and forward Tristan da Silva looks poised to take another step, but now they’ll potentially need to replace both Walker and forward Evan Battey in the frontcourt.
With Keeshawn Barthelemy hitting the transfer portal, if Walker stays in the draft the Buffs will officially lose each of their top three scorers from a season ago.