Arnett Moultrie will enter his name in the NBA Draft and forego his senior season at Mississippi State, he said this morning.
The 6-foot-11 junior forward said he hasn’t hired an agent, but since this is the second time he’s declared for the draft, he forfeits his remaining college eligibility, per NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199.1.1. Moultrie declared following his sophomore season at UTEP (CLICK HERE), then transferred to MSU.
A team spokesman said Moultrie hasn’t yet signed the necessary paperwork, so that rule won’t take effect until he does. I’m told he’ll get to the paperwork next week, so there is still a window in which Moultrie could withdraw.
Here’s what Moultrie said in a text message, which was written as a formal statement: “I, Arnett Moultrie, after careful consideration and discussions with my family and my coaches, have decided to explore my options and enter my name into the 2012 NBA Draft. I have not signed with an agent, as of yet. However, I do anticipate doing so.
“I have enjoyed my time at Mississippi State University and I will never forget the people I met and got to know. Nor, will I ever forget my coaches and teammates. Keep me in your prayers and I will keep Bulldog Nation in mine.”
Moultrie met with MSU athletics director Scott Stricklin today before making his decision. He didn’t have the make the decision so soon.
The NCAA recently changed its deadline for players wanting to enter the draft. Any player who declares for the draft and doesn’t withdraw by April 10 will be ineligible to play for his college team. The NBA’s deadline for declaring isn’t until April 29.
In his lone season at State, Moultrie averaged 16.4 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. In 30 games, he shot 54.9 percent from the field, 44.4 percent from 3-point range, and 78 percent from the foul line.
Moultrie was clearly unhappy with how things were going late in the season. After MSU suffered its fifth consecutive loss, Moultrie criticized teammates for their work ethic, said everyone had their own agenda, and didn’t think the Bulldogs had it in them to pull out of the slump (CLICK HERE).
MSU won its next two games to close out the regular season but then fell to Georgia in the first round of the SEC Tournament. A first-round NIT loss to UMass ended State’s season at 21-12.
On Monday, MSU announced that freshman point guard DeVille Smith had withdrawn from school and left the program. Later that day, junior forward Renardo Sidney decided to leave school to try and go pro. So Moultrie makes it five players who’ve left the program since August before their eligibility expired.
At the moment, MSU has six scholarship players returning for the 2012-13 season. As for incoming players, State signed a five-man 2012 class, but Josh Gray has reportedly asked for his release, which MSU has not granted.
The school is currently searching for a new head coach after the retirement of Rick Stansbury, and that is why Gray and some other signees are keeping their options open.