SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) _ Sophomore Jason Richardson, the leading scorer on the Michigan State team that went to its third consecutive Final Four this year, made himself eligible for the NBA draft Tuesday.

``I'm going to forgo my junior and senior season at Michigan State and pursue my career in the NBA,'' Richardson said.

Richardson said he had been thinking about this decision since last summer.

``I wanted to position myself to be ready for the next level,'' he said.

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

``I guess that shows how fast the program is growing,'' Richardson said.

Richardson led the Spartans in scoring with a 14.7 average. He averaged 5.9 rebounds and shot 50.3 percent from the field and 40.2 percent from 3-point range.

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said he talked to several NBA teams about where Richardson might be taken in the draft.

``The consensus I got was that he would be a top 10 pick and that he could go as high as five,'' Izzo said.

Meanwhile, Michigan State freshman Zach Randolph, another key player in the drive to the Final Four, is expected to make himself eligible for the NBA draft on Wednesday. Izzo also was expected to attend that news conference at Marion High School, Marion coach Moe Smedley said Tuesday.

Randolph, a former Indiana high school all-star, would not confirm his intention to leave Michigan State.

If both Randolph and Richardson leave, 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.