Wisconsin junior forward Sam Dekker to enter 2015 NBA Draft

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As expected by many, Wisconsin junior forward Sam Dekker has decided to forego his final season of eligibility and enter the 2015 NBA Draft. The news was officially announced by the school Friday morning, with Dekker also writing a letter of thanks to the Wisconsin fan base.

“After lots of thoughts and prayers, I’ve decided that it is in my best interest to enter the NBA Draft at this time,” Dekker wrote. “It is difficult to leave Madison and the only state I’ve called home, but I’m excited for the next chapter of my life.

“I truly can’t say thank you enough to my teammates, coaches, training staff and you, the fans, for everything you’ve done. I am so grateful for the opportunities Coach Ryan and UW-Madison have given me. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from my experience.”

MORE: List of players who have entered 2015 NBA Draft

The 6-foot-9 Dekker averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest this season, shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from beyond the arc and earning second team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and media. Dekker was nagged by an ankle injury for part of the season, but he played his best basketball during the month of March.

In wins over North Carolina and Arizona in the NCAA tournament, Dekker established new careers highs for points in a game. After scoring 23 points and grabbing ten rebounds in the win over the Tar Heels, Dekker followed that up with 27 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field and five rebounds.

DraftExpress.com has Dekker ranked 15th on its list of the Top 100 prospects, and he’s projected to be a first round pick in the NBA Draft.

Dekker will be the fifth departure that head coach Bo Ryan and his staff will have to account for this offseason, with Frank Kaminsky, Josh Gasser, Duje Dukan and Traevon Jackson all out of eligibility. That leaves rising juniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes as the players with the most experience who will return to Madison in 2015-16.