NORMAN — Last week, Oklahoma was contemplating its basketball future with Amath M’Baye as next season’s centerpiece. Wednesday, those plans changed. M’Baye announced he will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA Draft.
“I had a great time here, but I’m 23 (years old) and I’m going to be 24 soon,” M’Baye said. “I’m about to graduate in May and my plan coming to the United States was always to make sure I took care of everything from an academic standpoint. From a basketball standpoint, the fact that I’m 23 years old, I think I totally feel ready to start making a living for myself and my family.”
The decision wasn’t a complete shock to OU coach Lon Kruger, but he admitted it wasn’t one he anticipated.
“Like everyone, we were surprised. I don’t know that anyone fully anticipated Amath’s decision,” Kruger said. “But still, what he’s done over the last couple years is very simply been a terrific ambassador on the court, in the classroom, around the community. A terrific young guy that’s contributed a lot to the program. Even though we’re surprised by his decision, it doesn’t make it any less appreciative for all that he’s done and what he’s meant to the program. We wish him great things going forward.”
M’Baye averaged 10.1 points per game and 5.2 rebounds as a junior. It was his only season in a Sooner uniform. M’Baye transferred to OU from Wyoming prior to the 2011-12 season. He sat out that year due to NCAA transfer rules. M’Baye started every game this past season, but it was an inconsistent season.
He scored in double digits just 15 times in 32 games and had collected more than nine rebounds just once this season. M’Baye shot 46.1 percent from the field and 27.9 percent from 3-point range.