McDonald was all-MVC preseason
DES MOINES, Iowa -- A day after being selected to the all-Missouri Valley Conference preseason team, Luke McDonald said he won't play for Drake this season.
McDonald cited nagging foot injuries and his religious beliefs as reasons he will leave the team.
McDonald is seventh on Drake's career scoring list and needed 330 points to pass Red Murrell as the school's all-time leader. But foot problems that plagued McDonald's junior season have flared again.
"I just felt that this is what I needed to do," McDonald said Thursday.
McDonald also says he feels like he has been compromising the beliefs of his church by playing on Saturday. He is affiliated with the Church of God, which honors the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.
"That's always something I've been able to work around," McDonald said. "Just recently, I felt I should not compromise anymore and really honor it."
New Drake coach Tom Davis says the news is not a surprise to him.
"I'm sorry I'm not getting a chance to coach him because I enjoy him," Davis said. "I want him to stay around the team in any capacity he would like."
McDonald has played with bone spurs in both feet since high school.
"Everything is pretty beat up," McDonald said. "It's kind of fun to watch any doctor who looks at my X-rays. It's kind of like, 'Wow."'
"He told me that he knew he couldn't play the way he wanted to play," Davis said. "I think that (was a factor), coupled with his religious concerns. His religion is certainly important in his life."
McDonald was the MVC freshman of the year in 2001 and was first-team all-MVC as a sophomore, leading the league in scoring. But the injuries slowed him through much of his junior season.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press