Jaxson Robinson will not stay in NBA draft, but his time at BYU is over

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PROVO — Jaxson Robinson's time at BYU is over, but he's not headed to the NBA draft.

At least, not yet.

The 6-foot-5 guard from Ada, Oklahoma, and reigning Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year will withdraw from the 2024 NBA draft and join former coach Mark Pope at Kentucky, he told ESPN on Thursday.

The deadline for staying in the draft or returning to college basketball was Wednesday night, according to NCAA bylaws.

Robinson, 21, averaged 14.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 42.6% shooting last year for the Cougars, leading a team picked to finish 13th in its first season in the Big 12 to a fifth-place finish and an NCAA Tournament berth.

In his second season at BYU, the former Texas A&M and Arkansas transfer was BYU's leading scorer, including 25 points and 45.5% shooting from 3-point range in the Cougars' 71-67 loss to 11th-seeded Duquesne in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

After the season, Robinson rightfully took his time in contemplating his future and put his name in the NBA draft player pool. A few days later, the BYU graduate told ESPN he "planned to enter" his name in the transfer portal but heavily maintained that his first priority was a professional career.

A return to BYU was cracked open, but so were other destinations — including the spot that included Pope and former top assistant Cody Fueger, among others.

"Coach Pope gave me an opportunity that he didn't have to give me, especially a kid coming from two other colleges," Robinson said during combine interviews. "Coming in as a transfer, he gave me a great opportunity that I can only thank him for — and also my teammates; I needed them. We won a lot of games this year, and finished fifth in the toughest conference in the country."

After declaring for the draft, Robinson reported to the draft combine, where he measured at 6-foot, 4.75 inches (without shoes), with a 6-foot, 11.25-inch wingspan and an 8-foot, 7-inch standing reach while going through drills and a handful of scrimmages with other draft hopefuls.

He also played in front of Pope, who had taken the job at his alma mater and was recruiting across the country with stops that included the draft combine in Chicago.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Robinson said of the draft combine. "I'm just making sure I'm trying to maximize this experience, and put my best foot forward. I know these are some of the best guys that could possibly play at this level, and I'm excited to keep competing."

Robinson would be the second BYU transfer to follow Pope to Kentucky, joining former Farmington four-star recruit Collin Chandler. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard recently returned from a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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