Andre Kelly, who was arguably Cal’s best player this past season, has declared for the NBA draft and entered the transfer portal, according to his post on Instagram, but said he will also keep the possibility of returning to the Bears.
He has one season of college eligibility remaining.
Kelly thanked his teammates, coaches and others who have supported him for four years at Cal, then wrote: “I have declared for the 2022 NBA draft and I will keep my focus on my intentions of getting healthy and playing professional basketball.
“As a safeguard, I will consider returning to Cal, while also entering the transfer portal.”
Here is his full message on Instagram:
“I am excited to see where my journey takes me next,” he concluded. “No matter where I end up, I’ll always be a Golden Bear.”
Kelly is not currently mentioned in any NBA mock drafts.
This past season the 6-foot-8 Kelly averaged 13.4 points, which was second on the team and 13th in the Pac-12, and 8.4 rebounds, which was second in the conference, for the Golden Bears, who finished the season with a 12-20 record overall and 5-15 in the Pac-12.
Kelly was a reliable scorer in the paint and was Cal’s only consistent inside threat. His 60.7% field-goal percentage ranked third in the Pac-12.
Kelly suffered a severe ankle injury in the Jan. 29 game against USC and the injury forced him to miss the final 11 games of the season. The Bears went 3-8 in the games Kelly missed.
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It was unclear after the season whether Kelly would return for the 2022-23 season.
If Kelly does indeed leave, which seems likely, Cal’s 2022-23 team will be without its top three scorers from this past season as Jordan Shepherd (14.6 points) and Grant Anticevich (9.7 points) both exhausted their eligibility this past season. The Bears’ top returning scorer would be Jalen Celestine, who averaged 7.5 points this past season.
When Kelly was sidelined, his place in the starting lineup was taken by 7-foot-1 Lars Thiemann, who showed improvement over the second half of the season. He averaged just 4.7 points for the season, but he averaged 8.2 points over the final five games.
This is the second straight year that Cal is expected to lose its best player. Last year, Matt Bradley transferred to San Diego State and was named to the first-team all-Mountain West squad in 2021-22.
Cal has two freshman coming in next season, and 6-foot-9 ND Okafor may get more playing time in his first college season with Kelly headed elsewhere.
Cal is 35-58 in Mark Fox’s three seasons as head coach.
Cover photo of Andre Kelly by Darren Yamashita, USA TODAY Sports
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