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Jared Cunningham Jumps To The Pros

Jared Cunningham, one of the best Oregon St. players ever, will next play hoops as a professional. <em>(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)</em>
Jared Cunningham, one of the best Oregon St. players ever, will next play hoops as a professional. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. junior guard Jared Cunningham, who second all time for the Beavers in steals and third in free throws made, had announced that he will forego his senior season, and enter the 2012 NBA draft.

"This was a very difficult decision," Cunningham said Monday. "But I felt like I had to do what was best for me, and my future. My dream has always been to play in the NBA, and I'm ready to pursue that dream. I thank my teammates, my coaches, and the training staff that helped me get to this chapter in my life. I also want to thank Beaver Nation for the love and support that they have shown me during my three years at Oregon State. I will always be a Beaver, and I wish great success to the team in the future."

Cunningham, who was a first team All-Pac-12 selection this season, and was named to both the Pac-12 All Defensive team and the All-Tournament team this year and last.

The NCAA deadline for declaring for the draft or not is April 10. Cunningham said he spent spring break talking it over with his family, before making up his mind, and shared his decision with his teammates upon returning to Corvallis, before announcing it publicly.

"I just want to say that we are really proud of Jared and excited for his opportunity," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "All of us, the team, the staff, and hopefully Beaver fans, will be rooting for him."

"It has been really fun coaching Jared," Robinson added. "He was part of my first recruiting class here, and he has really made a lot of strides. To be considered as a potential professional is every kid's dream. We support him whole-heartedly. He won't be here very much longer, but he is welcome to come back here and work out with us anytime he wants." joins with coach Robinson in acknowledging Jared's tremendous contributions to Beaver basketball, which concluded with the best season in 22 years at Oregon St.