MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Joel Przybilla says he's through with college basketball and is ready for the NBA.
The 7-foot-1 sophomore center was suspended last Tuesday by Minnesota men's basketball coach Dan Monson for skipping classes.
Speaking publicly Saturday for the first time since his suspension, Przybilla blamed his suspension on a lack of communication and said he would not return to the team.
Przybilla told the Star Tribune his father, Doug, is hiring an agent and that they will take whatever steps the agent recommends in an effort to make him a lottery pick in the NBA draft June 6 in Minneapolis.
''I made a mistake by not attending classes on a regular basis,'' the 20-year-old Monticello native said, but he added he wasn't worried about his grades. ''My GPA was over 2.0, so there was no danger of being ineligible to play.''
He said he was surprised Monson suspended him.
''True, Coach Monson had warned me about going to class, but I thought he made a bigger thing out of it than it really was,'' he said. ''I think we had a lack of communication, Coach Monson and myself, and that seemed to be the problem all season.''
He said he didn't want to be critical of Monson but that they ''seldom talked.''
Monson confirmed Przybilla was not in danger of becoming ineligible under NCAA rules, but said his leading scorer had plenty of warning.
''Obviously, I'm not going to get into a debate in the media about it. On this, we had more communication than with any other player,'' Monson told the newspaper.
The Gophers lost their past two games without Przybilla, who averaged 14.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. They were beaten by Purdue 97-61 Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind. Przybilla averaged 17.2 points per game in Big Ten play, and led the conference in field-goal percentage (.614) and rebounds per game (11.2).
''My real feelings right now ... are for the 10 guys that have to go to West Lafayette and endure something like yesterday. That's where I feel the most disappointed,'' Monson told WCCO Radio on Sunday.
Monson replaced Clem Haskins, who recruited Przybilla and coached him last season but left the university after widespread academic fraud was found in the men's basketball program.
''I'm sure that if Clem Haskins was still coaching the team, I would still be playing basketball for Minnesota,'' Przybilla said. ''Clem and I had a great relationship. I promised Clem when he recruited me that I would spend four years at Minnesota, and that was my plan. However, it was Clem who suggested that if I had a great junior season it might be smart to maybe turn pro.''
Przybilla said he never gave any thought to transferring when Haskins left.
''At that time I had no idea but to play four years at Minnesota and then turn pro,'' he said.
But Przybilla is convinced he is ready to play in the NBA now.
''My dad has visited on the phone with several agents in the last 24 or 48 hours since we made our final decision, and the agents tell my father that I will definitely be a lottery pick,'' he said.
Monson told WCCO he wished Przybilla well in the draft, but said agents are part of the problem with college sports today.
''Obviously the agents are going to tell these athletes what they want to hear, and that's something that's unfortunate,'' Monson said.
Przybilla said the negative reaction to his leaving school had been far stronger that what he expected.
''People are pretty upset with me, but I had to do what I had to do,'' he said. ''I've been hiding out at my girlfriend's house and different places because of the reaction. I'll be glad to get out of town and to work on improving my game so I can make it big in the NBA.''
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