WKU’s Hollingsworth declines extra year of eligibility, turns focus to pro career

·2 min read

Western Kentucky’s Taveion Hollingsworth announced Monday that he will not use an extra fifth year of college eligibility and will instead begin his professional basketball career.

Hollingsworth, the 2017 Kentucky Mr. Basketball winner who led Paul Laurence Dunbar to a state championship as a junior, finished fifth on WKU’s all-time scoring list with 1,896 career points.

The 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard also set school records for minutes played in a career (4,525) and games started (131).

“To my teammates, my forever family. I appreciate the current guys and the ones that have moved on to be successful, you’ve been there for me and I’ll always be here for y’all,” Hollingsworth wrote in a letter he posted on social media. “To my coaches, thank you for giving me the chance to play college basketball and always believing in me. You guys have pushed me to be the best player I can be and the best man I can be off the court as well.

“It has always been my dream to play professional basketball. … This is only the beginning, so thank you for being a part of this journey.”

Previously, WKU junior center Charles Bassey also announced that he would sign with an agent and enter the NBA Draft.

Hollingsworth, who graduated earlier this month with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies, averaged 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists as a senior in 2020-21 and was named to the All-Conference USA Second Team.

As a junior, he led the Hilltoppers in scoring at 16.6 points per game and was named first-team All-Conference USA.

For his career, Hollingsworth averaged 14.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 34.5 minutes while shooting 33.6 percent from three-point range and 81.8 percent from the free-throw line.

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