Here’s the official athletic department statement on Morris opting to remain in the NBA draft, including quotes from Morris and head coach John Beilein.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Michigan sophomore guard Darius Morris (Los Angeles, Calif./Windward HS) has decided to forego the remainder of his college eligibility and remain as an early entry for the 2011 NBA Draft.
“There have been long discussions with my family, friends and my Michigan coaches,” said Morris. “After gathering all the information possible, I have decided to stay in the NBA Draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball.
“This was a difficult decision; however, in the end I decided to go with my heart. Playing professional basketball has always been a dream for me. I feel this is the right time for me to pursue that goal. It will be hard to leave the University of Michigan; however, I truly believe the basketball program is moving in a very positive direction.
“First of all I want to thank everyone at the University of Michigan and all its great fans. I would not be in the position I am today without the guidance of Coach (John) Beilein and his staff. I appreciate all the support I have received from all my teammates and everyone involved with the program. I will forever be a Michigan Wolverine. Lastly, and most importantly, I must thank God for blessing me with this opportunity.”
“We, as a staff, have watched Darius grow as a Daperson and as a player these past two years,” said U-M head coach John Beilein. “His improvement on the court has been the result of his God-given talent and his intense desire to become the best player he can be. His work habits, especially in our individual skill development time, have been outstanding, and we all witnessed the results of his efforts this season.
“Over the past month, we have worked with the NBA advisory committee and several NBA teams by gathering information to assist Darius and his family in exploring his options. We know they put a lot of thought into this important decision.
“Darius has been a catalyst in the continued growth of our program and we wish him nothing but the best in his professional basketball career and beyond. He will always be a Michigan Wolverine.”
Morris, who was an All-Big Ten Conference third team selection by both the coaches and media, helped the Wolverines to a 21-14 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament third round in 2010-11. He recorded the largest margin of improvement in scoring in the Big Ten, jumping from 4.4 points per game as a freshman to a team-best 15.0 points per game this past season.
Morris broke the U-M season record for assists with 235, becoming just the third Wolverine to record 200-plus assists in a season. He recorded the third triple-double in U-M history with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists against Iowa (Jan. 30). Morris tallied seven double-digit assist games, including a career-best 12 helpers against Concordia (Dec. 6) and Bryant (Dec. 20). Overall, Morris led the Big Ten with 6.71 assists per game, putting him fifth in the nation.
In two seasons in Ann Arbor, Morris started 53 of 67 career games, compiling 666 career points (9.9 ppg), 197 rebounds (2.9 rpg) and 319 assists (4.76 apg).
The NBA Draft, comprised of two rounds and 60 total selections, will be held Thursday, June 23, at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.