WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest forward Al-Farouq Aminu declared for the NBA draft on Thursday and announced he will hire an agent, ensuring his departure with two years of eligibility remaining.
The 6-foot-9 Aminu averaged 15.8 points this season and became the first Wake Forest player since Tim Duncan in 1997 to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebounding at 10.7 per game.
"This was a difficult decision," Aminu said in a statement. "But after talking it over with my family and my coaches, I believe now is the right time for me to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA."
Coach Dino Gaudio said he did extensive research with NBA executives and believes Aminu is making the right choice. The Norcross, Ga., native is widely projected to be a first-round pick.
"I want to wish Al-Farouq all the best," Gaudio said. "I'm looking forward to following his progress in what will undoubtedly be a successful pro career."
Aminu is the fifth Wake Forest player to leave early for the NBA. Rodney Rogers left after his junior season in 1993, and Chris Paul left after his sophomore campaign in 2005. James Johnson and Jeff Teague both left after their sophomore seasons last year.
"I want to thank Wake Forest and the basketball program for all they have done for me the past two years," Aminu said. "I have had some great experiences and will miss the friends that I have made here. I'm excited to take the next step and begin my professional career."