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McRoberts opts for NBA

Sophomore co-captain Josh McRoberts will forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft, the men's basketball program announced Thursday.

"This was a difficult decision, but I feel it is the best one for me and my family at this point in time," McRoberts said in a statement. "I will miss Duke, the coaching staff and my teammates, but it has always been [a] goal of mine to play in the NBA."

This past season, McRoberts was a second-team All-ACC selection, averaging 13 points and a team-leading 7.9 rebounds per game. In Duke's season-ending loss to Virginia Commonwealth, McRoberts scored a career-high 22 points.

"Josh has been a terrific player for us for the past two years, and he will be even better in the future as a professional," head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. "Based on our information, it is time for him to move on to the next level, and we are ready to help him in any and every way during this process."

Most Duke players entering the draft seek guidance from law professor Paul Haagen, who has advised dozens of Blue Devils entering the NBA Draft.

Haagen said, however, that McRoberts has not been in contact with him.

"The word I had gotten was that there had been a cooling of interest, and he would go somewhere in the early-to-mid 20s," Haagen said. "But I believe he's the type of player with such a unique set of abilities that could change during the individual workouts."

Even though many people considered McRoberts a potential lottery pick last season, most draft projections are in line with Haagen's projection, placing him in the mid-to-late first round.

"I'm just happy to see Josh happy," said McRoberts' mother, Jennifer McRoberts. "If [leaving Duke is] what makes him happy, then I am too.

Shavlik Randolph, who many compared to McRoberts out of high school, was the last Blue Devil to declare for the draft early. Randolph went undrafted but has caught on with the Philadelphia 76ers and signed a multi-year contract before this season.

Randolph said he has spoken with McRoberts several times recently about life in the NBA.

"I think he's going to be so good," Randolph said of McRoberts' NBA future.

Foxsports.com reported McRoberts is expected to hire agent Arn Tellem, the same representative J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams both hired after graduating last year. McRoberts' mother, Jennifer, called those reports false.

"Arn Tellem is someone I know quite well," Haagen said. "He's a very effective representative-one of most experienced agents in basketball."

The NBA Draft will take place June 28 in Madison Square Garden in New York City. If McRoberts does not sign with an agent and looks to return to Duke, which he has given no indication he will do, the deadline for that decision is June 18.

McRoberts' departure will leave the 2007-2008 Blue Devils with nine returning recruited scholarship players on the team and three incoming freshmen.

The coaching staff is still pursuing high school senior Patrick Patterson, a McDonald's All-American forward, whose decision could be influenced by Duke's new frontcourt vacancy.

"It's an enticing nugget [for Patterson]," said Dave Telep, scout.com's lead basketball writer. "Any time you lose a 25-plus minute per game guy-someone else's departure is a huge opportunity for another guy."

In an interesting twist, Kentucky, one of the six schools that still remain on Patterson's list, lost its head coach Thursday, when Tubby Smith announced he was taking the head coaching job at Minnesota.

"Seismic waves [were] sent across his bow today," Telep said of McRoberts' and Smith's announcements. "His timetable has had to change a little bit."

Greg Beaton and Michael Moore contributed to this article.

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