BYU’s Yoeli Childs will enter the NBA draft, hire an agent and leave school a year early for professional basketball career

Star forward’s announcement comes a day after 14-year coach Dave Rose retires from BYU

BYU forward Yoeli Childs (23) dunks on Utah guard Parker Van Dyke (5) in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday Dec. 8, 2018, in Salt Lake City. Childs announced Wednesday that he is turning professional and leaving BYU with one season of eligibility remaining. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Provo • Whoever replaces Dave Rose as BYU’s next men’s basketball coach has already lost his best player.

Junior Yoeli Childs, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward who was a double-double machine in his three seasons at BYU, is likely moving on.

To no one’s surprise, Childs announced via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that he will forego his senior season and embark on a career in professional basketball.

“The time has come for a new chapter in my life,” Childs wrote. “I will be declaring for this year’s NBA draft with [the] intent to hire an agent. Thank you for everything Cougar Nation.”

Childs toyed with the idea of leaving last year, but returned to BYU after testing the NBA waters and learning that he most likely would not be drafted. He is not showing up on a lot of draft boards and draft projection lists this year, but that could possibly change as he hires an agent and makes it known that he is finished playing college basketball.

Under a new NCAA rule, Childs could theoretically return to college ball if he is invited to the NBA Combine and doesn’t get drafted, even if he signs with an agent. However, those close to him say he will head overseas if he does not make an NBA roster.

“These past three years have been amazing,” Childs wrote, and singled out BYU assistant coach Tim LaComb for recruiting him to BYU and building a relationship with the former Bingham High star.

Coincidentally, LaComb announced on Twitter late Tuesday night that he is also leaving BYU, although that will likely be the case for all of Rose’s assistants if BYU hires a coach from outside the program.

Quincy Lewis has been named interim coach while the Cougars conduct a national search for Rose’s replacement, according to a school news release.

Childs married Utah Valley University volleyball player Megan Boudreaux last Aug. 3, but five days after their wedding in the Payson Temple, the junior middle blocker tore her right ACL during a practice and missed the entire 2018 season.

Childs improved every season he was at BYU. He averaged 9.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game his freshman year, 17.8 points and 8.6 rebounds his sophomore year and 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds this past season.

He made the All-WCC team for the second-straight season in 2018-19 and is one of 10 finalists for the Karl Malone Award, which goes to college basketball’s top power forward.

Childs had 17 double-doubles and 18 games of 20 or more points while often fighting through double-teams last season. He scored 31 points in three consecutive games — against Weber State, Utah State and Utah.

He scored 14 points in BYU’s season-ending loss to San Diego in the WCC quarterfinals, and it was fairly apparent that he had played in last game in a Cougar uniform.

“The season didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but it was still a blast to play with these teammates and just be around them the whole season,” he said at Rose’s retirement news conference Tuesday. “I couldn’t have asked for better teammates.”

It is the third-straight year that BYU’s leading scorer will leave the program with college eligibility remaining. Elijah Bryant left after the 2017-18 season with a year left and Eric Mika left after the 2016-17 season with two years left.