Auburn center Walker Kessler declares for NBA draft

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn center Walker Kessler, who was named the nation’s top defensive player, plans to enter the NBA draft. The 7-foot-1 North Carolina transfer announced his decision on social media.

Kessler averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds and ranked second nationally averaging 4.6 blocked shots per game. He helped lead Auburn to the program’s first No. 1 ranking and a regular-season Southeastern Conference title in his lone season with the Tigers.

Kessler is regarded as a potential first-round pick but has until June 1 to withdraw. Auburn freshman forward Jabari Smith, regarded as a potential No. 1 pick, hasn’t announced his decision.

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