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Marquette’s Vander Blue to enter the NBA Draft

Apr 16, 2013, 9:51 AM EST

Marquette v Miami Getty Images

After much speculation, Marquette announced Tuesday that guard Vander Blue has decided to enter his name into the NBA Draft, forgoing his final season of eligibility in Milwaukee.

“I’ve had three great years here and appreciate everything Marquette has done for me during that time to help me develop,” Blue said in a statement. “At this point I want to pursue my dream. I’ve prayed about it and discussed it with my family and think this is the right decision for me at this time.”

(CLICK HERE to follow along with who is turning pro and who is returning to school.)

“As a program, we are all very thankful for everything Vander has done to help our team over the last three years, but more importantly I admire the growth he has made off the floor as a person,” head coach Buzz Williams said. “He has had success in each role that he has played every year he has been here, and has continued to improve. We will always be grateful for his contributions and wish him nothing but the best in his professional career.”

Blue is an intriguing prospect for NBA teams. He’s a terrific athlete that knows how to slash to the rim, averaging 14.8 points, and he was also Marquette’s best perimeter defender this season. But he’s also a junior is college that still hasn’t developed a consistent stroke from the perimeter. His 30.3% shooting from three was his best season to date. It’s gotten better through the years, but he’s a long way from being an NBA caliber shooter, which creates a bit of an issue when he’s projected to be a shooting guard in the league.

He’s a player, however, and he also proved that he’s unafraid of the moment, as he shined during Marquette’s run to this season’s Elite 8.

Draft Express currently projects Blue as a late first round pick, but he’s listed in the 2014 draft.

As for Marquette, losing Blue will hurt. Anyone that watched them play in March and saw just how dominant Blue could be will understand that. But the Golden Eagles bring in a ton of talent on their perimeter — JaJuan Johnson, Duane Wilson, Deonte Burton — and with a front court that will return Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson, among others, there are still enough pieces on the roster for Buzz to work his magic.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.