Sophomore making 'right decision,' dad says

Updated: March 30, 2005, 1:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga leading scorer Adam Morrison will return for his junior season.

Morrison had been the subject of speculation that he might make himself eligible for the NBA draft after his stock rose sharply near the end of the season. But he decided he wanted to remain a part of Gonzaga basketball.

"I think it's the right decision," his father, John Morrison, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "It gives him a chance to get stronger and work on ball-handling and 3-point percentage."

Gonzaga coach Mark Few told ESPN.com's Andy Katz that Morrison examined his draft position and was told he could go as high as 15th, but Morrison has his sights on being a first-team All-American next season and potentially the player of the year.

According to Few, Morrison was told that he might be a lottery pick if he were to come out next year.

Morrison's decision means Gonzaga will have four starters returning from a team that was 26-5 and finished No. 10 in the final Associated Press Top 25. The Bulldogs were upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season.

Morrison, a 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward, averaged a team-high 19 points per game last season.

He was dominant during the latter stages of the season and averaged 26 points and 7.5 rebounds in Gonzaga's two NCAA games against Winthrop and Texas Tech. He was also named the most valuable player in this year's West Coast Conference tournament, where he averaged 27.5 points in wins over San Diego and Saint Mary's.

John Morrison said the depth of NBA interest in Morrison was unclear, and that his son needed some time off after the season to evaluate his options and determine "what was really true and what isn't."

Ronny Turiaf is the only starter to graduate from this Gonzaga team. In addition to Morrison, returning starters include post player J.P. Batista, point guard Derek Raivio and guard Erroll Knight. The top three players off the bench also return, as does guard Nathan Doudney, who missed most of last season with a knee injury.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com senior Andy Katz was used in this report.