The Michigan State Spartan are making public today the decision that everyone around the program expected. Here it is courtesy of MSU SID Matt Larson:
East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State men's basketball junior forward Nick Ward (Gahanna, Ohio/Lincoln) will submit his name for the 2019 NBA Draft. He will sign with an agent and plans to end his Michigan State career.
"After talking things over with my parents and Coach Izzo and the staff at Michigan State, I've decided to take the next step in my career and enter my name for the NBA draft," said Ward. "I've learned so much at Michigan State and am thankful to the coaches and my teammates for helping me become a better player and a better person and reach a lifelong goal of getting to a Final Four. Based on the feedback I got last year and discussions with Coach Izzo, I'm ready for this challenge and look forward to this next chapter. I am a Spartan for life. Go Green!"
"Nick went through the draft process last year and gained some valuable information," said head coach Tom Izzo. "When he made the decision to return for his junior season, I made one request that he be fully committed to our team and program. Nick did everything I asked and more, improving as a player and becoming a better teammate. I was impressed with his attitude and commitment as well as the way he grew his game throughout the whole year. I also knew Nick's desire to begin his pro career following his junior season, and I'm fully supportive of his decision. He has worked very hard over the last three years to put himself in this position and I look forward to helping him reach his dreams."
Ward was an All-Big Ten third team selection by the coaches and the media this season. He finished third on the team in scoring and rebounding with 12.9 points and 6.1 boards per game while connecting on 58.0 percent of his field goals, which ranked fourth in the Big Ten Conference and No. 24 nationally. Ward averaged 15.3 points and 7.1 rebounds in conference play before being sidelined for the final five games of the regular season.
In 104 career games, he has scored 1,359 points, a 13.1 per game average, which ranks No. 26 all-time at Michigan State. Ward has connected on 60.5 percent of his field goal attempts, which ranks fifth all-time at MSU.
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