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Cal basketball: Jaylen Brown to make Thursday announcement — expected to head to NBA

Cal’s small forward Jaylen Brown will make an announcement Thursday morning about whether he intends to enter the NBA draft, and all signs point to the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year turning pro.

Brown, a 6-foot-7, 225-pound native of suburban Atlanta, is universally projected as a lottery pick, likely a top-10 selection. The website Draftexpress.com has him going No. 4 overall and NBADraft.net envisions him at No. 9.

Sources say Brown has spent recent weeks training in the Los Angeles area.

Sunday  Monday is the deadline for underclassmen to enter the NBA draft. Players who do not sign with an agent have until May 25 to change their minds and return to college.

Fellow Cal freshman Ivan Rabb of Oakland has not made an announcement, but sources indicate the 6-10 power forward may opt to return to school.

The NBA draft will be held June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

A first-team all-Pac-12 selection, Brown is an explosive, physically mature player who attacks the basket and is terrific in the open court.

He averaged 14.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, and had 27 double-digit scoring games in 33 outings, including six of 20 points or more.

He earned Freshman All-America honors by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association of America.

But Brown was an erratic shooting, converting just 29.4 percent from the 3-point arc and 54.6 percent from the free throw lines. And he slumped late in the season, averaging just 7.8 points and shooting just 10 for 48 over the Bears’ final five games, including a season-low four points in Cal’s NCAA tournament opening-round loss to Hawaii.

Jeff Faraudo