OSU's Moreland pulls out of NBA draft

CORVALLIS — Oregon State sophomore men's basketball player Eric Moreland, it appears, will be a junior after all.

Moreland, a 6-foot-10, 215-pound forward who filed paperwork nearly a month ago to become eligible for the NBA draft, announced at a press conference Monday that he is staying in school.

"I've decided that I want to withdraw my name and continue as an Oregon State Beaver,'' Moreland said, eliciting a round of applause from teammates gathered at Gill Coliseum and a playful clap from OSU coach Craig Robinson.

Today is the deadline for players to withdraw their names from consideration for the draft and retain their college eligibility.

Monday's announcement was a surprise to some. After averaging 9.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in 2012-13, Moreland was hardly an accomplished offensive player, but his defense, athleticism and length hint at a professional future.

"At some point,'' Robinson said, "he probably will be a first-round pick.''

But this is not the point, as Moreland learned from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee. Some would ask what is the point of holding a press conference to announce you are staying in school?

For Robinson's program, it's an opportunity to gain attention for producing a player with an NBA future — for the second straight year.

Moreland said he learned that he would have been undrafted or chosen in the second round — a less-glowing report than teammate Jared Cunningham received a year ago, although Cunningham was a surprise first-round pick by the Dallas Mavericks.

"I say this every year — well, the last two years I say it every year, hopefully I'll be saying it every year — if you're guaranteed money, that's a whole different decision,'' Robinson said.

Teammate Roberto Nelson said he's known for a while that Moreland would return, but with Moreland's unusual length and upside, nothing was certain.

"With his athleticism, if he had a chance to work out and show people his abilities, I mean, the sky's the limit for him,'' Nelson said.

With Moreland back in the fold, Robinson can look forward to an imposing front line next season that would feature four 6-10 players — Moreland, Angus Brandt, Daniel Gomis and Olaf Schaftenaar — as well as freshman 7-footer Cheikh N'diaye.

Moreland was the first OSU player in 49 years, since Mel Counts in 1964, to average double-figure rebounds.

Now, the Beavers retain a crucial piece in their hopes for a rebound from a 14-18 (4-14 in the Pac-12) season.

"We had a downfall last year,'' Moreland said. "And I don't think that's how anybody wants to go out.''

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