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UH’s Jankovic decides to turn pro

Hawaii basketball’s Stefan Jankovic has decided to forego his final year of eligibility and will enter the NBA Draft, the junior forward announced in a UH release today.

Jankovic was named the Big West Player of the Year for leading the league champion Rainbow Warriors in scoring (15.6) and rebounding (6.6). He was instrumental in the team’s recent NCAA Tournament run and record of 28-6.

“I would like to thank the state of Hawaii for all the great memories but I feel the time is right for me to declare for the draft and I’m in the process of hiring an agent,” Jankovic said in the release. “After the great season I experienced with my coaches and teammates, I discussed this decision with my family and we felt it was best for me to begin my professional career. I will always call Hawaii home and this place gave me a second chance after I transferred from Missouri.

“I would like to thank my coaches for always pushing me, my teammates for the great season we had, and to all of the fans for their support during this truly amazing year. In my two years at Hawaii, I’ve had some of the best times of my life and Hawaii will always have a special place in my heart. Aloha and mahalo.”

Jankovic is among four UH juniors who’ve been weighing staying in Manoa or moving on with an NCAA postseason ban in place for 2016-17.

“We thank Stefan for his contributions to not only our basketball program but to this university and the state of Hawaii,” UH coach Eran Ganot said in the release. “He is a fine young man who comes from a tremendous family, and he’s worked hard for this opportunity. More important than basketball, Janks is on pace to graduate, which we, along with his family are very proud of.

“In his short time here, Janks entrenched himself in the community and has said Hawaii will always be home. He has our complete and unconditional support. In just one year, Stefan went from a non-all-conference player to Big West Player of the Year on an NCAA Tournament team and that’s a testament to his hard work, dedication and sacrifice to the game. His future is bright and I look forward to following his career.”

The NBA Draft is on June 23.

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    • Traveling athletes like this never stay too long. But give him credit. He is a decent person and actually attended classes. He now heads to Europe or Asia to play basketball. He is not, obviously, a NBA-qualified player.

  • I’m not sure he’ll be drafted but regardless he’ll find someplace where he can make good money playing basketball. I do believe that his chances of being drafted are at a peak right now.

    • I agree. I don’t think he’s close to being ready for the NBA, but his stock is at it’s highest, so I say go for it…Don’t do the Colt Brennan and plummet next year.

      • Yes…since we are banned from post-season play next year, he will not get the exposure he received this year from making it to round two in March Madness. Good luck, Stefan, do and be well!

      • Jankovic is one of the best legit stretch fours in the west, so an NBA team may be interested in drafting him as a project. They’re always looking for power forwards who can shoot 3-pointers. If he can pack on 15 to 20 pounds of muscle on his 6-foot-11 frame, he could have a future in the NBA. Anyhow, thanks for all the memories and wish you nothing but the best. Go Warriors!

    • agree. He was actually a student at the UH unlike so many who rarely attend class and whose purpose seems to be to entertain the public. I say return to the days of the legitimate student-athlete who is part of the campus and community and graduates!

  • This doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s getting his degree, his stock is probably as high as it’s going to get right now. As much as I’d like him to stay another year, I wish him nothing but the best in his pro endeavors!

  • From last year I was saying Janks had the best shot at NBA. A little bit premature, but you got to do what’s best. Given the unknown circumstances, most people would do the same. Hope the rest of the guys stay as we have some young guards here already and some on the way.

    Good luck on your future Janks and I am glad you came to Hawaii.

    • I say Bobbitt has the best shot. A premium point guard is a rare commodity. Bobbitt can run an offense and defend, what he lacks is shooting ability but he may be good enough to be a valuable backup, much like how AC was for years. Janks has as much chance for NBA as hell freezing over. Every power conference team has at least one big man better than him. If his claim to fame is his shooting ability as a big, it’s certainly not good enough.

  • Good luck and best wishes Stefan ! Mahalo for a great and memorable season! We enjoyed watching you play at the Stan Sheriff and also develop as a fine young man, I hope all your dreams are fulfilled!!

  • The progress he made from last year to this was amazing. If he had chosen to stay one more year and improved just half of what the last year brought, he’d might be ready. Much as I enjoyed his play, he’s just not ready to play against the big guys. But wish him well – European play will fit.

  • No way he makes NBA, not strong enough for inside, not good enough shooter for outside, not athletic enough for all around. Foreign play is the only option.

    • Carl makes/made good money in Europe. Carl was never the studious type so he made the right decision. He actually was on the Pacer’s preseason team and got a good look.

  • The real challenge is now to Coach Ganot. Assuming that most of the juniors will not be returning, and even if some do – they will be only eligible for the 2016-2017 season, the pressing questions are, “Can Ganot keep the upward momentum going? Or was this season, the culmination of the Class that Arnold brought-in 3 years ago?” Let’s hope that it’s the former. And let’s get the NCAA to get off their okoles and consider the appeal to have the sanctions against the Bows lifted!

  • Oxtail01 must have been an neglected child or an abused child. He never has anything nice or positive to say about anything. This article is just about a young man who is graduating and wants to try something he enjoys.

    Oxtail01 only objective is to condemn him. He doesnt even say one word of thanks to Janks for giving us something to be proud of.

    • Learn how to read! I have praised the team and the coach a numerous times. Now if you actually want to disagree with my assessment the he will NEVER make NBA, say so. Otherwise, consider yourself another one who’s “condemning” him. Read what I said about Carl English and that I stated that foreign play is Janks option and that the “main thing is he make money doing what he enjoys…”. Now if you think that’s condemning him, you better go back to school and learn your English.

  • Totally expected, Conference player of the year, not much better he could do next year if he stayed with all the players and scorers leaving. Now we see what Ganot can really do as HC. Losing leading scorer, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th place scorers. Next man up only averages under 5 pts per game. According to verbal commits, UH has only 1 offer out for a big and he ain’t coming to UH.

    • Let’s see who Ganot can recruit. Especially since UH men and Wahine’s made it to the Big Dance.
      Maybe that recognition will get some quality players to concede playing for UH.

  • This could go down as one of the biggest disasters in UH sports history. If the NCAA waits much longer, we are going to loose the entire junior class to transfer. If the NCAA reverses it’s decision, the juniors may already be gone… Could be a train wreck… Lets hope the guys show some patience as we would love to have them all back for their senior year….

  • if the money is there, he has to grab it. but i don’t know if thats the case. he can make a good living playing in Europe. NBA, probably not going to get drafted. if Janks had tore it up in the NCAAs, he could have been drafted. unlike oxy, i think Janks can play in the NBA. his skill level is high but he’s not tough enough yet. he could improve his stock if he stayed another year if he improves as much next year as he did this year.

  • Bigger question is whether Valdez will follow suit. Thomas and the other Stefan will probably stay unless they transfer. Because Valdez was hurt, his stock probably didn’t go up. But with 3 starters and the 6th and 7th men gone, there isn’t much back up for him to shine.

  • Mahalo to Jankovic for contributing so greatly to the Hawaii Warrior Basketball program and for giving us (along with your team mates) both the Big West Season and Tournament Championships and UH’s FIRST NCAA Tournament Win!!! Best wishes to you and your family and we’ll be following your career going forward!!! Congratulations on also your intention to graduate! Good move all the way around… we’ll miss you big time but will remember you!!!

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