Center says 'great' chance he'll go in first round

Updated: April 20, 2004, 1:16 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Colorado center David Harrison will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft.

The 7-foot junior said he is confident that he will be chosen in the first round of the June 24 draft.

"It's real exciting," Harrison said Monday. "I'm starting up another stage in my life."

Harrison leaves Colorado as the school's all-time leading shot blocker. Last season, he led Colorado in scoring (17.1 points per game), rebounding (8.8), blocked shots (85 total) and field-goal percentage (.631).

"I looked at the season I had this year, and I just felt like I have a great opportunity to get picked in the first round," Harrison said. "I just felt it was my time to go pro. I always thought I would be in college for about three years, so I felt like this was perfect timing."

Harrison has hired agent Chris Emens, a move that means he cannot return to college.

"I do think he's solidly a first-round pick," Emens told The Denver Post. "Universally, he is considered to have lottery talent."

Harrison grew up in Nashville, Tenn., and said he would love to play for the Memphis Grizzlies or the Nuggets. The Grizzlies have the 24th pick and the Nuggets, who need a true center, have the 20th pick.

Colorado went 10-6 in the Big 12 Conference and was not selected to the NCAA Tournament. Mix-ups with fans at Iowa State and Kansas and being left off the all-Big 12 first team also contributed to Harrison's decision.

He said the final blow was a first-round National Invitation Tournament loss at Oregon.

"Pretty much until we lost to Oregon, I was coming back," Harrison said. "It was so emotionally draining that I couldn't go through that again."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press