Alec Burks enters NBA draft

Updated: April 21, 2011, 7:30 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Colorado sophomore guard Alec Burks announced Thursday at a news conference he will enter the NBA draft and forgo his final two years of eligibility.

ESPN.com NBA Insider Chad Ford ranks the 6-foot-6 Burks as the No. 1 shooting guard and No. 14 overall player on his Big Board list.

Burks was joined by Colorado coach Tad Boyle and his teammates at a news conference to announce his decision Thursday. Burks said he wrestled for weeks with the notion of skipping his final two years of eligibility, and consulted with his family, coaches and others, including former Colorado star and current New York Knicks guard Chauncey Billups.

"It was tough," said Burks, who plans to hire an agent in the coming days. "I was really deciding on coming back. I wasn't ready to give up the college experience. But I had to make the best decision for myself, and that's what I feel like I did." He averaged 20.5 points, leading the Big 12 in scoring and breaking the single-season record for points scored. He also led the team in assists and was second on the squad in rebounds, averaging 6.5 boards per game.

Burks helped lead the Buffaloes to a 24-14 season that saw them set a school record for wins and reach the NIT semifinals after missing the NCAA tournament.

Colorado played its final year in the Big 12 before moving next season to the Pac-12, a conference losing much of its talent to the NBA draft.

"The NBA is a dream of mine," Burks said. "I feel like I've got to take advantage of it."

Boyle said that Burks is ready to make the jump to the professional ranks and he fully supported his decision.

"Obviously, he's proved he can produce in one of the best leagues in the country and at the highest levels of college basketball," Boyle said. "You're talking about a situation where Alec can put himself on a course to take care of himself and his family for years to come. It's hard to begrudge anybody that opportunity, especially someone who has worked as hard as he's worked."

Boyle believes Colorado's basketball future remains bright, adding that it is better off in the long run having had Burks the past two seasons.

"We're not as good and we're not as experienced, but that doesn't mean we can't have a great year," Boyle said. "I'm optimistic, and I'm proud of Alec. This is something we can use as a positive in our recruiting efforts. Part of coming to this campus is following your dream and whether you're a basketball player or a chemical engineer or whatever the case may be, you want to follow your dream. Alec's dream is to play in the NBA and he's realized that at Colorado."

Arizona's Derrick Williams, UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee, USC's Nikola Vucevic, Washington's Isaiah Thomas and Washington State's DeAngelo Casto have announced they will remain in the draft. Washington State's Klay Thompson said Monday he was leaning toward staying in as well.

Information from ESPN.com's Diamond Leung and The Associated Press was used in this report.