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Wisconsin F Sam Dekker to enter NBA draft, forgo final year of eligibility

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After a brilliant three years at Wisconsin, Sam Dekker is headed to the NBA.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker will forgo his final season of eligibility to enter the NBA draft, he and the school announced Friday.

Dekker averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game this season, but grew even more productive as the year went on. After battling minor injuries for the early portion, Dekker was at time's UW's most valuable player down the stretch of a run that took the Badgers from being regular-season champions to Big Ten tournament champions and ultimately national championship runners-up.

"These past three years have been the best, most memorable years of my life," Dekker said in a release from the school. "Growing up in the state and being able to wear Wisconsin across my chest has been a dream come true.

"After lots of thoughts and prayers, I've decided that it is in my best interest to enter the NBA Draft at this time. It is difficult to leave Madison and the only state I've called home, but I'm excited for the next chapter of my life."

The Sheboygan, Wis., native appeared in 113 games with 81 starts over his three years at Wisconsin, finishing 15th in school history with 1,363 points. Dekker is also the eighth Wisconsin men's basketball player to tally 1,000 points and 500 rebounds (Dekker finished with 569) in his first three seasons.

In the NCAA tournament, Dekker averaged 19.2 points and 5.5 rebounds, shooting a team-high 57.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range. After Wisconsin defeated Arizona to move to the Final Four for the second straight year, Dekker was named the West Regional Most Outstanding Player.

"I truly can't say thank you enough to my teammates, coaches, training staff and the fans, for everything they've done," Dekker added. "I am so grateful for the opportunities Coach Ryan and UW-Madison have given me. I couldn't have asked for anything more from my experience."

In addition to UW's release, Dekker also wrote a letter to fans to announce his decision. The 2015 NBA draft will be held June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

To the Badger Nation,

I really don't know where to start. Most importantly, I just want to say thank you.

These past three years have been the best, most memorable years of my life. Growing up in the state and being able to wear Wisconsin across my chest has been a dream come true.

It has been a true honor to represent this University and the state of Wisconsin. I can't say enough about how much all of your support has meant to me and my teammates. The privilege of playing in front of a sold out Kohl Center or looking around at the sea of red that filled Lucas Oil Stadium last weekend are things that most college basketball players never get to experience and I never took that for granted. Badgers fans are the greatest in the world.

After lots of thoughts and prayers, I've decided that it is in my best interest to enter the NBA Draft at this time. It is difficult to leave Madison and the only state I've called home, but I'm excited for the next chapter of my life.

I truly can't say thank you enough to my teammates, coaches, training staff and you, the fans, for everything you've done. I am so grateful for the opportunities Coach Ryan and UW-Madison have given me. I couldn't have asked for anything more from my experience.

I will continue to represent the University and entire state of Wisconsin to the best of my ability wherever my future takes me. I will never forget these years as a Badger; not just for the basketball victories, but for the friends made, lessons learned and the memories that will last a lifetime.

God Bless and On Wisconsin!

Sam