OSU’s Cunningham will try NBA draft

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CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State junior guard Jared Cunningham announced on Monday that he will enter the 2012 NBA Draft.

“This was a very difficult decision,” Cunningham said. “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.”

“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. He was part of my first recruiting class here and 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 long, but he is welcome to come back here and work out with us anytime he wants.”

Cunningham concludes his three-year Oregon State career 13th all-time in scoring (1,271), second in steals (219), third in free throws made (427) and fifth in free throws attempted (566). He was an All-Pac-12 First Team (junior season) and All-Pac-12 Second Team (sophomore season) selection and made the Pac-12 All-Defensive and All-Tournament Teams two times each.

The Oakland, Calif., native holds 11 school records, including most steals as a junior (91, tied with Gary Payton), most steals as a sophomore (85), most steals in a game (8, tied with Brent Barry and Seth Tarver) and most minutes played in a season (1,245).

A total of 41 Beavers have been drafted in the NBA and 12 were selected in the first round. The last Oregon State player to be drafted was Corey Benjamin in 1998 when he was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 28th overall pick in the first round.

Oregon State players have been on 11 NBA championship teams, appeared in the NBA Finals 19 times and played in the NBA All-Star Game 13 times. Players who won NBA titles include: Red Rocha (1951), Mel Counts (1965, 1966), Dave Gambee (1967), Lonnie Shelton (1979), A.C. Green (1987, 1988, 2000), Brent Barry (2005, 2007) and Gary Payton (2006).

Photo courtesy: osubeavers.com