- Associated Press - Thursday, March 24, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Malik Beasley said leaving Florida State to enter the NBA draft started to become a viable option about the midway point of the season, especially as he was being touted as a possible first-round selection.

“Once I started to get recognition my family and I began looking more into it,” Beasley said on Thursday. “As the process got deeper into the season, it ended up being a tough decision. We wanted facts and not just rumors.”

Beasley, a 6-foot-5 guard, said he consulted with friends in the NBA, including Memphis guard Tony Allen, before making a final decision. He told coach Leonard Hamilton and teammates last weekend before formally making the announcement on Monday.

Beasley becomes the first player in Florida State history to enter the draft after only one season.

He averaged 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds and was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s all-freshman team. He was eighth in the conference in free throw percentage (.813) and 10th in field-goal percentage (.471).

Beasley said he is still in constant contact with roommate Dwayne Bacon, who announced on Wednesday that he was also going to explore his draft prospects. While Bacon has mentioned returning to Florida State as a viable option, Beasley said he plans on hiring an agent in the next week or two along with beginning pre-draft training in Atlanta. Once he does hire an agent, his collegiate career will be officially over.

“I know it’s going to be tough but that’s the journey that I want. I’m going to work my hardest to get there just like I got here,” he said.

In early draft projections, Beasley is listed anywhere from mid-first round to late second. Scouts like his athleticism and ability to drive to the basket, but ball handling and his jumper from midrange have been cited as areas of improvement.

Despite having Bacon and Beasley, Florida State missed the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. The Seminoles (20-14) advanced to the second round of the NIT before losing to Valparaiso.

Last month Florida State announced a two-year contract extension for Hamilton in the hopes that Bacon and Beasley would stay another year. Now there is the possibility that both might be gone.

“The outcomes came out good for us individually but not as a team. It happens that way sometimes,” Beasley said.

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