April 19, 2006
SPOKANE, WA - Gonzaga University junior forward Adam Morrison made official Wednesday what has been speculated for months - he'll forego his final season of eligibility to enter the National Basketball Association Draft.
Morrison made the announcement at a press conference in the Herak Club Room of the McCarthey Athletic Center.
"It was a tough decision," Morrison said. "I've loved every moment I've experienced at Gonzaga, but I feel I'm ready to take on the challenges of something I have always dreamed about - an NBA career. The good news for Gonzaga is that the cupboard isn't bare and I'm confident Coach (Mark) Few and the returning players will continue what has become a strong basketball tradition at Gonzaga."
Morrison, the nation's leading scorer this past season at 28.1 ppg and an Associated Press consensus All-American, said he leaves Gonzaga with many fond memories.
"There's nothing like the atmosphere of a Gonzaga game," Morrison said. "I'd like to thank Gonzaga, the coaching staff, my teammates, the Kennel Club, the fans and the entire Spokane community for making this an unforgettable three years."
Morrison, a product of Spokane's Mead High, announced his junior year of high school he was going to cast his lot with the Bulldogs. Little was it known then that the former Bulldog ball boy would become one of the most recognizable icons of collegiate basketball this past season.
Teaming with Duke University's J.J. Redick, the duo had one of the most hotly contested scoring races in NCAA history, Morrison pulling away down the stretch to edge Redick 28.1 ppg to 26.8 ppg. He became just the second Bulldog to lead the nation, Frank Burgess the first in 1961 with his 32.4 ppg.
In addition to his AP All-America selection, Morrison was named the Chevrolet Player of the Year as selected by CBS Sports, a John R. Wooden Award Top Five honoree, a James Naismith Player of the Year finalist, the co-recipient of the Oscar Robertson Trophy presented by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and was the co-recipient of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Player of the Year.
"We hate to lose Adam, but we wish him well," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "He leaves as the most decorated player in Gonzaga history. He's been an integral force behind what we've been able to keep going the past three years."
Morrison leaves his mark on the Gonzaga record book. This season he set single-season marks for points (926), field goals made (306) and free throws made (240). He tied for 10th for single-season 3-point field goals made (74) and 3-point field goals attempted (173).
On the career charts, Morrison is third in points (1,843), third in field goals made (659), ninth in 3-point field goals made (127), eighth in 3-point field goals attempted (344) and fourth in free throws made (398).
Morrison becomes the second Bulldog to leave early for the NBA Draft, junior Paul Rogers a second-round pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1997. Gonzaga has had 15 players taken in the draft, most recently Ronny Turiaf as the 37th overall pick by the Lakers in 2005, Blake Stepp as the 58th pick by Minnesota in 2004 and Dan Dickau as the final pick of the first round by Sacramento in 2002. Gonzaga has also had two players who have signed letters-of-intent but never played for the Bulldogs go in the NBA Draft. This year's draft is June 28 at Madison Square Garden in New York.