Monday, April 14, 2008

Michael Beasley declares for NBA Draft

At a press conference a few moments ago, Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley announced that he would be declaring for the NBA Draft.
"That's what he wants to do. Mike feels he can play with anybody," Curtis Malone, Beasley's former AAU coach, told the Kansas City Star.

Malone told the newspaper that he talked with Beasley as late as Sunday.

"My last words to him were, 'Do what you feel is best.' He's considered the option of going back," Malone told the Star. "He doesn't want to be selfish, either. But he also wants to take care of his family."

While Beasley is expected to be one of the top picks in the June 26 draft if he declares, the consensus All-American called in advisers and family members over the weekend to help him make a choice before his self-imposed 6 p.m. ET deadline.

Nobody doubts his NBA potential. Quick, strong and agile, the 6-foot-10 power forward had the second-most rebounds and third-most points of any freshman in NCAA history and led the Wildcats to their first NCAA tournament victory in 20 years.

"There's no question in my mind who the best player in the country is," said Kansas coach Bill Self. "It's Michael Beasley. He may not win all the player of the year awards, but he's the best player."

Kansas State coach Frank Martin has made no secret of his advice for Beasley.

"I think he's going to go, and I think it's the right thing to do, because he's going to be the top pick in the draft," Martin said in an interview with The Associated Press.

His friends know Beasley as a big, playful kid who will jolt teammates out of bed in the morning by shooting them with a water pistol. Opposing players know him as the bruising forward who averaged 26.2 points and a nation-leading 12.4 rebounds.

The day he arrived at Kansas State as the most highly advertised recruit in school history, he talked about sticking around.

"I don't want to be an athletic student," he said. "I want to be a student-athlete."

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