Walsh Tells Gators Of Intention To Stay In Draft

University of Florida shooting guard Matt Walsh has informed Gator head coach Billy Donovan of his intentions to remain in the 2005 NBA Draft, foregoing his senior season.

"Matt and I have talked about foregoing his senior season and pursuing his lifelong dream of an NBA career," said Florida head coach Billy Donovan. "At this point in time it is his intention to keep his name in the NBA Draft. Although Matt would like to leave the window to come back here open, he has made it very clear that it is his intention is to forego his senior season."

The announcement comes two months to the day after Walsh made his decision to test the NBA Draft waters without retaining an agent.

Walsh led the Gators to their first SEC Tournament title in March, earning Tournament MVP honors along the way. Walsh scored 26 points in the Gators' victory over Kentucky in the title game, averaged 19.3 points per game over the tournament and hit 44.8 percent from beyond the arch (13-29).

For Walsh, it added to a long list of MVP honors, as he won three straight Orange Bowl Classic MVP honors, as well as the outstanding player at the 2003 MassMutual Tip-Off Classic where he dropped 27 points on Arizona in the Gators' victory over the third-ranked Wildcats.

Walsh earned All-SEC honors each of the past two seasons and finished second on the Gators in scoring for the second straight year, averaging 14.6 points per game. He was Second Team All-SEC from the coaches in 2004-05. The Holland, Pa., native led the Gators in three-point accuracy, hitting 42.6 percent from beyond the arc this season (69-162).

Walsh surpassed the 1,000-point barrier on Dec. 19, 2004 and finished his Florida career 1,301 points over his three-years. The Gators won 69 games over his three-year career, made the NCAA Tournament each season, made two consecutive SEC Tournament title games and were reached No. 1 in the nation in each of his first two seasons.

He is the first Gator to leave early for the NBA Draft since Mike Miller and Donnell Harvey left after the 2000 season, as each went on to be first round picks, while Miller earned 2001 NBA Rookie of the Year honors.

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