Marresse Speights heading for the NBA
Florida sophmore forward Marreese Speights will not return for his junior season and will enter the NBA draft.
Speights, a native of St. Petersburg, informed coach Billy Donovan of his decision Thursday morning during a conference call. Speights declared for the draft in April, but did not hire an agent, leaving open the possibility for his return. But after numerous workouts with NBA teams, Speights told the Times Thursday morning he believes his best option is to move on.
"It was a hard decision,'' Speights said.. "But we had a good conversation. Coach Donovan understood. He always said he wants what's best for me.''
Speights is expected to sign with agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports, whose clients include Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups.
"I completely support his decision, this is what he wants to do,'' Donovan said in a statement. "I wish him nothing but the best of luck on June 26 (NBA draft day) and in the future.''
Speights' advisor and former AAU coach Matt Ramker said following their conversation with Donovan, Speights was even more sure he was making the right decision, which he's been trying to come to terms with the past few weeks based on all the information he has been receiving.
"Coach (Donovan) is very supportive,'' Ramker said. "He wants what is best for these guys. He knows Marreese has the opportunity to help himself and his family and to set them up for the rest of their lives. But it took a lot of conversations with coach and a lot of people the last two weeks so we could make the best decision for Marreese.''
[Brian Cassella, Times files]