Freshman guard Malaki Branham (22) dribbles the ball during the second half of the No. 7 Ohio State 32 game against No. 2 Villanova March 20 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Ohio State lost 71-61. Credit: Mackenzie Shanklin | photo editor

Freshman guard Malaki Branham will enter the NBA draft process and maintain his college eligibility, he announced in an Instagram post on Friday.

Branham has until June 1 to choose whether he wants to return to Ohio State. The NBA draft is scheduled for May 16-22 in Chicago, and the NBA draft is June 23.

“As a basketball player growing up, my dream was always to play in the NBA,” Branham said. “All the long hours in the gym, the sacrifices my family and I have made, and just following the plan God has for me has gotten me to this point.”

Branham told ESPN he would stay in the NBA draft if he were to be selected in the first round.

Branham served as a scoring sidekick to junior forward EJ Liddell – who declared for the NBA Draft March 25 – averaged 13.7 points per game on 49.8% shooting.

The Akron, Ohio native earned third-team All-Big Ten honors, starting 31 of Ohio State’s 32 games this season and scoring a combined 37 points in two NCAA Tournament games against No. 10 Loyola. Chicago and No. 2 Villanova.

“Right now, I’m going to chase that dream and get my name in the NBA Draft,” Branham said.