Louisville released a statement on Monday that junior forward Jaylen Johnson will hire an agent and seek a career in professional basketball. (Jeff Roberson | AP Photo)
on April 24, 2017 at 12:23 PM, updated April 24, 2017 at 12:33 PM
ANN ARBOR — Ypsilanti native Jaylen Johnson is bypassing his final season of eligibility at Louisville and pursuing professional basketball.
Johnson previously declared for the NBA Draft, but did so without signing with an agent, leaving the option open to return for his senior year of college.
Since declaring, though, Johnson, 20, was cited for marijuana possession in Woodford County, Kentucky, and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge last week, according to multiple reports.
WDBR reported on April 19 that Johnson was pulled over March 22 for not having a visible license plate and police noticed a strong odor of marijuana from inside the car. According to WDBR, an officer searched the vehicle and found a Gatorade bottle with a suspected plastic bag of marijuana inside.
Louisville released a statement on Monday that Johnson will hire an agent and seek a career in professional basketball.
“After a lengthy conversation with (Louisville coach Rick Pitino) I have decided to hire an agent and forego my senior year,” said Johnson. “I will miss my teammates and coaches, but it is really important that I help out my mom and family. I’m going to work incredibly hard to give it my best shot. I’ll be rooting for the Ville next year.”
Johnson started 26 games at Louisville last season, helping the Cardinals to a 25-9 record, a tie for second in the ACC and a No. 10 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. Louisville’s season ended with a loss to Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
“Jaylen and I had a long conversation,” Pitino said in the university release. “He feels strongly about trying to make the league and help his family, as they have always been there for him. Jaylen has been a valuable asset to our program and has given me his heart and soul for the last three years. We wish him great success and we will be following his progress closely.”
In three seasons at Louisville, Johnson, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 88 games.
As a junior in 2016-17, he averaged 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game.
Johnson previously starred at Ypsilanti High School. As a senior, he led the school to a 21-3 record and a spot in the Class A regional finals. He averaged 13.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.3 blocked shots and 4.1 assists