Chasing his NBA dream proved to be too enticing for Andre Roberson.
On Sunday, the Colorado star announced that he will forego his senior season with the men's basketball team and enter the NBA draft.
"After much consideration and counsel from my family and coach (Tad) Boyle, I have decided to forego my senior season and enter the NBA Draft," Roberson said in a statement released by CU. "I am proud to have been a member of Colorado Basketball and want to thank coach Boyle and his staff, the administration, the fans, and the University for this incredible experience.
"It has been an honor and privilege to make Buffalo history with my fellow teammates over the past three seasons. Additionally, I want to express my appreciation to my friends and family for all their support during this process. I look forward to continued development as I embark upon the next steps in my journey of fulfilling my dream of playing in the NBA."
A 6-foot-7 forward, Roberson had until 9:59 p.m. on Sunday to make his decision and he took nearly all of that time, as he and his family wrestled with the decision for weeks.
CU originally scheduled a news conference for Friday morning, but canceled it at the last minute because Roberson was still undecided. He made his announcement official just before 2 p.m. on Sunday. No news conference was scheduled this time, and Roberson's CU-issued statement was his only comment.
"It wasn't an easy decision for him or his family," Boyle said. "I don't know everything that went into it, but I feel like he feels this is the best time for him to start his professional basketball career. What went into making the difference, Andre has to answer that."
The nation's second-leading rebounder a year ago, Roberson is projected by many to be a mid- to late-second round pick in the two-round, 60-selection draft. NBADraft.net lists Roberson at No. 48 on the list of top prospects for the 2013 draft. Other sites have Roberson listed in the mid-50s, including ESPN.com and CBSSports.com at No. 54, and DraftExpress.com and Hoopsworld.com at No. 55.
Second-round choices do not get automatic guaranteed contracts. Second-rounders, especially those taken late in the round, also often face longer odds to making it onto a roster. In the four drafts from 2009-12, 40 of the 120 players taken in the second round never made played in the NBA. Of the 44 taken at No. 50 or below, 23 have never played in the NBA and just 11 are currently still in the league.
Boyle and other CU officials advised against Roberson turning pro, but Boyle said he wishes Roberson the best.
"I respect the decision and I support the decision," Boyle said. "That's not to say that I agree with the decision. Life's all about making choices; we make choices every day. This is a choice that Andre and his family feel that is in his best interests and we support him."
Roberson will certainly leave a void at CU. After three memorable seasons with the Buffs, Roberson finishes just 10 rebounds shy of becoming the program's all-time leader in that category.
Last season as a junior, Roberson was named the Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He averaged 10.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game for the Buffs (21-12), helping them to reach the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row. He ranked second nationally in rebounds per game last year after ranking third in 2011-12 (11.1 per game).
During his three seasons in Boulder, Roberson scored 1,012 points and pulled down 1,045 rebounds. Stephane Pelle (1999-03) holds the record with 1,054 career boards.
Roberson is only player in CU history to accumulate at least 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 150 blocks (150), 150 steals (164) and 100 assists (119). Roberson is also the only player in CU history to lead the team in rebounds, steals and blocks three years in a row.
"I think the University of Colorado was good for Andre Roberson and Andre Roberson was good for the University of Colorado," Boyle said.
Roberson is just the fourth player in CU history to leave early for the NBA. The other three -- Chauncey Billups (1997, No. 3 pick), David Harrison (2004, No. 29) and Alec Burks (2011, No. 12) -- were all first-round picks.
With two early-entry players in the past three years, CU has certainly taken a step up in NBA-quality talent. In addition, current sophomore Spencer Dinwiddie is already projected as a 2014 first-round pick by some pundits.
"It's certainly a sign that our program, we have players that are in discussion of being in the NBA," Boyle said. "This is a testament to the kind of players we're recruiting and the athletes we're recruiting and developing while they're here.
"I think Andre developed his game."
Offensively, he has more room to improve. However, with his athletic ability, rebounding instincts and 7-foot wingspan, Roberson could help an NBA team.
"I think Andre is an NBA-level rebounder; I think Andre is an NBA-level defender," Boyle said.
Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianHowell33.