By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN, Okla. —
Oklahoma announced Wednesday afternoon that forward Amath M’Baye will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft. M’Baye intends to hire an agent, which means his decision cannot be reversed.
The Bordeaux, France, native started all 32 games this past season, averaging 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds.
“My time at OU has been great,” M’Baye said in a statement. “I’m 23 years old. My goal when I came to the United States was to take care of business in the classroom and by the time I was 23 to have a degree in my pocket. Now that I'm graduating in May, it's time for me to start taking care of my family the way they've taken care of me for so long.
“It’s a tough process of saying good-bye to everybody because I love everyone here. The coaches did an amazing job with me and with this team in general. Everyone was great here and I had an amazing time. I want to be able to come back down the road and help the program however I can, because it's given me a lot.”
M’Baye, who transferred to OU from Wyoming prior to the 2011-12 season, but had to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules, has skills the NBA covets. His length and athletic ability are of that caliber.
However, consistency is also a trait required in professional basketball. M’Baye’s junior season showed he has a ways to go in area.
He scored in double-digits just 14 times and had collected more than nine rebounds just once this season.
During OU’s three-game losing streak to end the season, M’Baye scored five points against TCU, six against Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament and eight against San Diego State in the 70-55 loss in the NCAA tournament.
After that game Friday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, M’Baye talked about becoming the Sooners’ leader for next season in the manner Romero Osby had this past season.
“It’s my job to get in the gym and get myself prepared to assume a role like that, and that's what I'm going to do,” M’Baye said. “I have no doubt I'm going to be in the gym all summer working on my game and hopefully do the same thing.”
Now, OU heads into the offseason having to replace three senior starters and now M’Baye.
“Amath has been a terrific ambassador for the University of Oklahoma, both on the court and in the classroom,” OU coach Lon Kruger said in a statement. “We appreciate his many contributions and wish him nothing but great success in the future.
“We’ll now turn our attention to spring workouts. The returning players and our incoming recruits are really excited about next season. Amath's contributions to this year's team enhanced the foundation of our program, and we have a great and motivated young group of guys who will look to build on the success of this year's squad.”