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Gonzaga’s Collins to declare for draft and hire agent

WCC Santa Clara Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga’s Zach Collins celebrates after scoring against Santa Clara during the second half of a West Coast Conference tournament NCAA college basketball game Monday, March 6, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Gonzaga’s first-ever McDonald’s All-American turned out to be a one-and-done talent.

Freshman Zach Collins will declare for the NBA and hire an agent, the school announced Tuesday evening.

“This was a significant decision for my family and me,” Collins said in a statement released by Gonzaga. “It was definitely one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. I just want to thank everyone at Gonzaga, especially the coaching staff and my teammates.

“This season was special and something I will never forget. It was the most fun year of my life. I want to thank all of the Zag fans for all of their support and passion. I’ll always be proud to be a Zag.”

The 7-footer averaged 10 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while shooting 65.2 percent from the field. His play in the NCAA tournament was outstanding, reaching its peak in the Final Four win over South Carolina in which he tallied his first - and last - career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds to go along with six blocked shots.

Given his size and skill - he projects as a player capable of stretching the floor, Collins is a potential lottery pick after just one season in Spokane.

The loss of Collins, along with senior Przemek Karnowski and Jordan Mathews, certainly hurts this year’s national runner-up, but coach Mark Few certainly does not have a bare cupboard at his disposal in 2017-18. In fact, NBC Sports projected the Zags as a preseason top-10 team, even without Collins.