Duke junior forward Mike Dunleavy is staying in the NBA draft.
Dunleavy told the Duke coaching staff Tuesday that he would not return for his senior season after being told that he would likely be the No. 3 pick in the draft and selected by the Golden State Warriors. Former All-Star Chris Mullin is expected to take over the Warriors' decision making and ultimately could be in the market for a head coach within the next year. It's a position that sources say could be filled by Mike Dunleavy Sr.
The deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft is Wednesday, one week from the event.
"After carefully weighing my options, I have decided to stay in the draft," said the 21-year-old Dunleavy in a statement Wednesday. "It was a hard decision to make,
but after going back and forth, I have decided to pursue my dream of becoming a professional basketball player. After a thorough
investigation, I believe that I will go reasonably high in the draft and I am excited about starting my professional career."
Duke's staff supported Dunleavy's decision and were said to be very proud of his accomplishments of becoming a top-three pick. The Duke staff had no issues with him staying in the draft after learning that he would be a top three pick. Dunleavy is expected to follow China's Yao Ming and teammate Jay Williams in the draft order. Sources in Houston have said the Rockets would need a monumental turn of events not to select Yao with the top pick and Chicago has all but assured Williams that he will be the second selection.
Dunleavy attended the Chicago pre-draft camp physicals but didn't play in any games. He held two workouts over the weekend in Durham with Golden State and Memphis. Dunleavy is the third Duke starter to leave early with Williams and Carlos Boozer joining him in the draft, too.
Dunleavy averaged 17.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.3 steals as a junior in 2001-02. Dunleavy became the 50th Duke
player to reach 1,000 career points and he increased his career scoring total to 1,371 points, 28th all-time at Duke. One of only six players in
the country to receive votes for the Associated Press National Player of the Year award, Dunleavy was a consensus second team All-America, a
second team Academic All-America, a first team All-ACC selection and a first team ACC All-Defensive Team honoree in 2002.
"I plan on finishing my few remaining courses and graduating from Duke University as soon as possible," Dunleavy said. "I have very much enjoyed my years at
Duke. It is a wonderful university. I have made good friends, had great experiences and received a world-class education. I am appreciative of
the support that Coach K and his staff have given me throughout my time at Duke. I plan to remain an active supporter of the University and of
the athletic department."
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. Katz covers the NBA draft for ESPN.com and ESPN.