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Villanova's Cheek entering NBA draft

Dominic Cheek is leaving Villanova to enter the NBA draft. (Henny Ray Abrams/AP file photo)
Dominic Cheek is leaving Villanova to enter the NBA draft. (Henny Ray Abrams/AP file photo)Read more

Dominic Cheek, Villanova's second-leading scorer at 12.5 points, is leaving the school to enter the NBA draft.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Cheek said: "It's something me, coach [Jay] Wright and my family discussed. It was time to go pursue my pro career. It was mostly a family decision. I want to help my family. I know it's not going to be easy. It may be a bumpy road but I'm willing to face the challenges and do what I have to do to make my dream come true."

Wright said: "Each kid is different. With 'Cheeko' there were a lot of personal reasons and I can see it. At this point, he had two options and he chose to start his pro career. We've talked a lot about it since our last game."

In a statement released by Villanova before the news conference, Cheek said: "I appreciate all the help I have gotten from my teammates, coaches and friends during my time at Villanova. At this point in my life, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family. I am excited to get started with the process of pursuing my dream of playing in the NBA."

In the same statement, coach Jay Wright said, "We support Dominic in his decision. We will assist him as he goes through the process of preparing for the draft and his professional career."

The Daily News reported earlier this week that Cheek was leaning in that direction. Whether Cheek would even project as a second-round pick at this point is debatable. But sources indicated that his family's financial situation would play a part in the decision. A McDonald's All-American from Jersey City, N.J., he played for Hall of Famer Bob Hurley Sr. at storied St. Anthony's High.

Cheek had until April 29 to make a decision.

Villanova already has lost leading scorer Maalik Wayns to early entry.