Michigan freshman Brazdeikis entering NBA draft

Michigan freshman Ignas Brazdeikis will hire an agent and enter the 2019 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

"As long as I can remember, I've wanted to be an NBA player -- not just an NBA player, but an NBA All-Star," said Brazdeikis, who is ranked No. 48 in the ESPN 100. "My intent is to be drafted this year as high as I can be and start my journey."

Wolverines shooting guard Jordan Poole and small forward Charles Matthews are also declaring for the draft. They're ranked No. 68 and 69 in the ESPN 100, respectively.

While all three players intend to hire agents for the draft evaluation process, new NCAA rules allow them the option to return to school without losing their eligibility.

Brazdeikis was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after averaging 14.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in 30 minutes per game while shooting 39 percent from 3-point range for Michigan, who lost in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament to Texas Tech.

The 20-year-old Canadian, who will be represented by YouFirst Sports, is attempting to become the first one-and-done freshman in the John Beilein era.

"You know, it's funny, because I told everyone when I won the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award that I feel like I actually won that award back in August because I envisioned it happening," Brazdeikis said. "I'm a very confident player. I believe if you set a goal, visualize it and put the work in, it will happen.

"I never really thought about the NBA this past year because I was so focused on being the best player I could be for Michigan. But now that the season is over, I'm excited to focus on the tremendous opportunity in front of me."

Brazdeikis emerged on NBA radar screens early in the season as the leading scorer of a Michigan squad that significantly exceeded preseason expectations and rocketed toward the top of the national polls, thanks to an incredibly stout defense.

His aggressive mentality, advanced scoring instincts and overall toughness are attractive projecting forward, although he still has his work cut out to solidify his draft stock heading into the predraft process, which would likely include a strong showing at the NBA combine.

"I feel like I really improved as a player this past year at Michigan, but I know I still have some things in my arsenal that I haven't had a chance to show," Brazdeikis said. "I'm excited to get the chance to play and train in front of NBA personnel and showcase how versatile my game is."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.