Murray State star Ja Morant will wait to make an announcement on any plans to enter the NBA draft after his team was eliminated from the NCAA tournament Saturday.
“That time will come. My focus is not on that right now; it’s just celebrating this — what a great season we had — with my teammates,” Morant said.
Morant is widely projected to be a top-three pick in this year’s draft, should he choose to forgo his final two years of college eligibility.
Morant finished his season with a 28-point performance in 12th-seeded Murray State’s 90-62 loss to No. 4 Florida State in the second round in Hartford, Connecticut.
Morant averaged 24.4 points and 10.2 assists per game for the season, becoming the first college player to accomplish that feat since assists were officially recorded in the 1983-84 season.
During this year’s tournament run — which included a triple-double against Marquette in the first round Thursday — Morant was responsible for 63 percent of Murray State’s points, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.
Ja Morant goes off in the 1st half vs. Florida State as he hits five 3-pointers on his way to 18 points before halftime.
Murray State coach Matt McMahon had nothing but praise for his star point guard after Saturday’s loss.
“You see all of the talent and ability out on the floor and how he makes everyone better, but he’s got some of those intangibles that really separate him,” McMahon said. “He loves to play. He’s just a relentless competitor. He’s tough and he’s a winner. His growth as a leader this year was a big key in the success we were able to have.”
Morant could be seen on the bench, bent over with a towel on his head as the season came to an end for the Racers (28-5).
“I would say I was just hurt — not being able to take the floor with these guys for the rest of the season, for another game, or possibly two, three, four,” Morant said. “But it’s been a great season. I really was just thinking back on what all we have accomplished this year, and I’d say I was more hurt not being able to play with these guys for the remainder of the season.”
Despite the emotional loss, Morant made a point to go back to the arena to surprise a young fan.
Signed ’em too, of course. pic.twitter.com/woIdkbTKnT
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 24, 2019
Morant has until April 22 to decide whether to declare for the NBA draft.