Grizzard decides for NBA

TUSCALOOSA - Rod Grizzard, a 6-foot-8 All-Southeastern Conference guard, announced on Monday that he will forego his senior season at the University of Alabama and declare for the NBA draft.

In front of a full room that included his parents, Troy and Mary Grizzard, Alabama head coach Mark Gottfried and his assistants, and most of the Alabama basketball team who stopped by on their way to their conditioning program workouts to observe and offer their support, Grizzard sat side by side with Gottfried and announced his plans.

"I've decided to forego my senior season and enter the NBA draft," said Grizzard who will leave Alabama ranking 13th all-time in career scoring with 1,487 points for a 14.9 career per game average. "As far as an agent, that's up in the air. I haven't talked to anybody yet. My family and I are still just waiting things out, trying to get this part of announcing it out of the way first."

When on, Grizzard could light up the scoreboard like nobody else.

Gottfried was beside Grizzard, saying while his preference would have been to have Grizzard back for one final season, he supported Grizzard's decision.

"I just want to say to start off," said the 2002 SEC Coach of the Year, "that I'm the biggest fan there is out there of Rod Grizzard. I'm very thankful that three years ago Rod made the choice to come to Alabama when we were just trying to build our program back. I think our success we've had here-we've won 52 games in the last two years-he has been as big a part of everything we've done here as anybody. I'm appreciative of him, his family--thankful to them that they believed in us to allow him to come. He knows and his family knows that our staff is with him, behind him. My family, my wife, my kids-they love Rod Grizzard. We're going to do anything we can to help him. I'm excited for him.

"I'm disappointed obviously. We sure would have loved to have him play his senior year, but at the same time he needs to pursue his dream. He knows what's in his heart, and we're all 100 percent behind him. He knows how I feel about him. I care a lot about him. We're all wishing him the absolute best."

Grizzard emphasized when responding to reporters questions that the fact that he had not yet hired an agent should not be read as a signal that he would change his mind and simply meant that he and his family were trying to take one step at a time in their preparations for the NBA draft.

The Birmingham native's highlights at Alabama include finishing 2nd in the SEC in scoring as a sophomore with 17.0 points per game, starting in 94 career games, producing nine career double doubles and 78 career dunks, being named 1st Team NABC All-District in 2002 and in 2001, being named ESPN's National Player of the Week and the SEC's Player of the Week in February 2000, and being a John R. Wooden National Player of the Year finalist at mid-season this past season.

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