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Bryce McGowens declares for 2022 NBA Draft, will not return to Nebraska

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 09 Big Ten Tournament - Nebraska v Northwestern Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nebraska Cornhuskers freshman guard Bryce McGowens announced earlier today that he will not return to Lincoln next season but will instead enter his name into the 2022 NBA Draft. McGowens had one of the most prolific freshman seasons in Nebraska history and was the highest rated recruit the Huskers had ever signed in the modern recruiting era.

The younger McGowens brother finished his career at Nebraska sitting at or near the top for a number of program records. He finished in the top-10 of Nebraska’s school freshmen charts in points (522, 1st), free throws made (162, first), free throws attempted (195, first), field goals (160, 2nd), three-pointers (40, 6th), and rebounds (161, 4th). McGowens also set the school record for most points by a freshman in his debut with 25 points versus Western Illinois, and in a conference game with 29 points versus Rutgers.

Bryce McGowens also ranked third nationally among true freshmen in scoring prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament with 16.8 points per game. He led all freshmen nationally with 162 free throws made and was second in free throw attempts (195).

Prior to the start of the Big Ten Tournament, McGowens earned Big Ten All-Freshman and Third-Team All-Big Ten honors (the third-team were both Coaches and Media). McGowens was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week eight times this past season, good for second most in conference history. He was also named Big Ten Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press.

While many Husker fans were upset to see McGowens did not earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, he did post a stellar season for the Huskers in averaging 17.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game prior to the Big Ten Tournament. He played through a wrist injury in the loss to Northwestern in the BTT which resulted in his average points taking a small hit for the season average. McGowens lost out on the Big Ten Freshman of the Year honor, though, because his usage clearly impacted his efficiency. He shot just 40 percent from the floor and an anemic 24 percent from three point range.

Having said that, McGowens still had a stellar career in Lincoln. He is projected to be a first round pick by most mock drafts, and has the potential to be a great NBA player. While he could hire an agent and still return to Nebraska, Bryce has made clear he will not be doing so and his college career is officially over with the potential to be Nebraska’s first ever one-and-done recruit now. The staff here at Corn Nation wish him the best in his future endeavors.