Kansas State's Michael Beasley Era officially came to a close Monday, when the 6-foot-10 freshman forward announced during a press conference at Bramlage Coliseum that he will forgo his final three years of college eligibility and enter the 2008 NBA Draft, describing his decision as difficult.
"I'd like to thank Kansas State, all of my teammates and coaches for their love and support," Beasley said. "I sat with a lot of people and they told me over and over again just to follow my heart. I kind of made my mind up and went back to undecided and made my mind up again."
Kansas State coach Frank Martin was one of the advisors who told Beasley it was in his best interests to head to the NBA.
"I told him the decision has to be what's best for him. When he chose Kansas State, he did so because it was best for him. This decision is no different," Martin said. "If I had a son who was his age and was the best player in college basketball, I'd tell him the same thing.
"He is prepared to take on this challenge. Not just take it on, but make an incredible career of it. ... He's as ready as anybody would ever be."
The K-State star posted one of the best freshman seasons in college basketball history during his first and only campaign as a Wildcat, by averaging 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds per game for a 21-12 K-State team that reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Beasley, who most believe will be the first or second overall selection in this year's draft, recorded a school-record 26 double-doubles during his freshman season in Manhattan and joined Wildcat great Bob Boozer as the only K-State players in history to garner first-team All-America honors from The Associated Press.
Beasley earned both Big 12 Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year accolades this season, while racking up player of the year honors from Rivals.com and CBS Sports.com. He was also named as a finalist for the 2008 Naismith Player of the Year and John Wooden awards.
The Washington D.C. native said Monday that he is yet to sign with an agent but plans on doing so in the near future in preparation for the draft, which will take place June, 26 inside New York's Madison Square Garden.