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Michigan St’s Richardson Going Pro

April 10, 2001

SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) _ Michigan State sophomore Jason Richardson, the leading scorer on the team that went to its third consecutive Final Four this year, is leaving the Spartans for the NBA.

``I’m going to forgo my junior and senior season at Michigan State and pursue my career in the NBA,″ Richardson said at a Tuesday news conference.

Richardson is the first Michigan State player to turn pro as an underclassman since Magic Johnson left after his sophomore year in 1979.

Richardson, who averaged 14.7 points per game, is expected to be a top-10 pick. He averaged 5.9 rebounds and shot 50.3 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from 3-point range.

Meanwhile, freshman Zach Randolph, a key player who led the Spartans to their third consecutive Final Four, called a news conference for Wednesday, when he is expected to make himself eligible for the NBA draft.

Spartans coach Tom Izzo also was expected to attend the news conference at Marion High School, Marion coach Moe Smedley said Tuesday.

Randolph, a former Indiana high school All-Star at Marion, would not confirm his intention to leave.

If Randolph joins Richardson, Michigan State would lose six of its top nine players from last season, including seniors Andre Hutson, Charlie Bell, David Thomas and Mike Chappell.

The Spartans lost to Arizona in the NCAA semifinals on March 31.

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