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Gonzaga’s Hachimura declares for NBA draft

Rui Hachimura

Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura (21) celebrates after Gonzaga scored against Fairleigh Dickinson during the first half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Thursday, March 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

AP

Rui Hachimura’s college basketball career has come to an end.

After an All-American season with Gonzaga, Hachimura is heading to the NBA, declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft and, barring a disaster, becoming the first Japanese-born player to get drafted in the best basketball league in the world.

“The last three years at Gonzaga have been a dream come true, and now I’d like to pursue my next dream of playing in the NBA,” Hachimura said. “This was a significant decision for my family and myself. I just want to thank everyone at Gonzaga, especially the coaching staff and all of my teammates who went to battle with me and are my brothers for life. My three years as a Zag were very special and something I will never forget. I want to thank Zag nation and Spokane, Washington, for all of the love and support, and to the people of Japan who have been there cheering me on the whole way. Forever a Zag.”

As a junior, Hachimura averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 boards, but perhaps most relevant is the fact that he has become a much better defender over the course of his college career.

Hachimura is a likely lottery pick.