UCLA forward Cody Riley says goodbye to program, readies for pro career
UCLA forward Cody Riley announced on Friday that he will forego his final season of eligibility and begin prep for his pro career.
The five-year Bruin had another year available to him to return to Westwood, but bid farewell to the program in a lengthy message shared to social media.
“My journey here at UCLA encapsulated the highest of highs and some of the lowest of lows, both on and off the court,” Riley wrote. “Without the constant love and support from my family, my teammates who I consider my brothers, my coaches and the support staff here at UCLA, I would not have been able to stay the course and come out the better man I am today. I am proud of who I am today, I am proud to say I never quit, and I can hold my head up high knowing I gave everything I could to the four letters every chance I got.”
— FuturedoesIt (@CodyJRiley2) May 6, 2022
The Kansas City native saw his UCLA career begin with a bit of turbulence in 2017 as he and two other Bruin freshmen were caught shoplifting in China, arrested, and suspended for the entire year. Riley owned the moment and vowed to be better.
Over the next four seasons, he became a stalwart in the UCLA frontcourt.
Riley played in 118 games over his final four seasons, earning 76 starts. For his career, he averaged 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds while playing 20.7 minutes a night. The 6-foot-9 forward worked to become one of head coach Mick Cronin’s most trusted rotation members, starting 51 of his last 57 appearances for the Bruins.
Thank you Cody for all your hard work, your desire to improve, and your great attitude in our program every day. This young man has come a long way for us, and he has been a pleasure to coach. #ThankYouCody #GoBruins https://t.co/F4z5zaQwD7
— Mick Cronin (@CoachMickCronin) May 6, 2022
Riley missed roughly two months of the season after spraining his left MCL in the season-opener, according to The Los Angeles Times. He returned to the lineup in January and averaged 7.3 points and just under four rebounds a night while splitting time at the 5 with Myles Johnson.
Johnson has retired from basketball. Riley is likely set to head overseas to continue his playing career. Their departures leave UCLA with incoming freshman Adem Bona, rising redshirt sophomore Mac Etienne, and fifth-year senior Kenny Nwuba in the frontcourt. The Bruins do have open scholarships to look to the transfer portal for another big if needed.