Steven Adams is leaving Pitt after just one season and declaring for the NBA draft. The school released a statement on Tuesday confirming Adams' departure.
"In discussing options with my family and Coach Dixon, I feel that it is in my best interest to declare for the NBA Draft," Adams said in the statement. "I want to thank everyone at Pitt including my teammates, coaching staff, the administration and the fans who have all supported me over the last year."
A 7-foot center, Adams is projected to be a first-round pick in June's NBA Draft, although he did struggle at times as a freshman at Pitt. The New Zealander averaged 7.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in 23.4 minutes, but he was one of the Panthers' lone bright spots in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 13 points and adding 11 rebounds in Pitt's first-round loss to Wichita St.
Adams' departure will certainly raise some eyebrows in Pittsburgh, though. He said during the season that he would be returning for his sophomore season, something he reiterated after the Panthers' NCAA Tournament loss.
"I'm coming back," Smith said. "I don't know why you guys keep asking that question, man. I'm coming back."
Something in the last two weeks must have changed, because that is no longer the case. Adams has 18 siblings and there has been speculation that he may declare to provide for his family, although whether that factored into his decision to go pro is unclear. All we know is that he will be available for June's Draft.