Arizona 5-star recruit Ferguson opts to play overseas

McDonald's All-American Terrance Ferguson will play professionally overseas rather than enroll at the University of Arizona.

Brian Spurlock/Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Swingman Terrance Ferguson, a five-star recruit from Dallas, has informed the University of Arizona that he has decided to pursue professional opportunities overseas and will not enroll in school and play for the Wildcats.

"Terrance Ferguson informed me earlier this week that he has decided to pursue professional opportunities instead of attending the University of Arizona this fall," Arizona coach Sean Miller said in a statement released by the school. "I hope this next chapter of his basketball career goes well, and his goal of one day becoming an NBA player is realized."

Ferguson, a 6-foot-7 wing who was ranked as the 16th-best player in the Class of 2016 by Scout.com, announced his commitment to Arizona in April. Reports began circulating late in the spring that his eligibility was in doubt and that he was considering signing a pro contract and endorsement deal.

He posted a story on The Players Tribune Thursday explaining that the decision to sign with the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League in Australia came down to the desire to provide a better home for his mother, describing a promise he made to her at age 9.

"I could see the pain on my mom’s face, the pain that comes from raising three children on her own, the pain of working two jobs, of getting laid off time and time again. She didn’t like to show it, and she tried to hide it, but it was there. And I was tired of it.

"It didn’t matter that I was nine, or that I didn’t know how I was going to do it; all that mattered was that, someday, I’d make sure my mom would never have to work again.

"Now, she won’t have to, because I’m going to play for the Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League in Australia."

Ferguson writes that his development toward playing in the NBA will be expedited by playing overseas.

"Just look at the last NBA Draft. In college, you have time limits on your workouts, you have class, you have so many other things taking up your time. Overseas, you’re on your own, playing in a grown man’s league. You’re working out twice a day, just focusing on basketball."

Ferguson expresses gratitude to Miller and assistant coach Book Richardson but said his choice was "obvious."

"No, I won’t get to hear thousands of fans scream "Bear down!" I won’t get to play for a national championship. I won’t be at the massive parties or experience the college lifestyle.

"But I get to be with my family. I get to make sure my mom never works again. I get to keep my promise."

With Ferguson’s decision, Arizona has three incoming freshman for the upcoming season: 6-10 forward Lauri Markannen from Helsinki, Finland, 6-5 guard Kobi Simmons from Alpharetta, Ga., and 6-4 guard Rawle Alkins from Raleigh, N.C.