April 3, 2019 / 4:12 PM / 3 months ago

Murray State guard Morant declares for NBA draft

FILE PHOTO: Mar 23, 2019; Hartford, CT, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) talks to a teammate during the second half of game against the Florida State Seminoles in the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at XL Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

All-America sophomore and projected lottery pick Ja Morant is leaving Murray State to enter the 2019 NBA Draft, he announced at a Wednesday news conference.

Morant averaged 24.5 points and led the nation with 10 assists per game this season, highlighted by a triple-double against Marquette in a first-round win in the NCAA Tournament.

In a tweet, Murray State teased, “We have some exciting news to share with you this evening!” and invited the campus community to hear an announcement from the 6-foot-3 point guard.

At the press conference, Morant said, “Talking with my family, we decided that I would be declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.”

He added that he would be signing with an agent, which would preclude him from regaining his college eligibility.

“I want to give a shout out to (former Racers assistant) coach James Kane for coming to a back gym and finding me and really giving me the opportunity to play here at Murray State in a great program in front of great fans,” Morant said.

Morant, who also averaged 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 2018-19, has been projected to be selected as high as No. 2 in the draft behind Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson.

Morant posted 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds in the Racers’ 83-64 victory against Marquette. It was the first triple-double in the NCAA tourney since 2012. He followed it up with 28 points in a 90-62 loss to Florida State in the second round.

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