Ja Morant Says He's Not Focused on NBA Draft After NCAA Tournament Loss to FSU

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2019

Murray State's Ja Morant (12) looks up at the scoreboard during the first half of a second round men's college basketball game against Florida State in the NCAA Tournament, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Murray State superstar Ja Morant wasn't in the mood to talk about his NBA future after the Racers' 90-62 loss to Florida State on Saturday in the NCAA men's basketball tournament in Hartford, Connecticut.

"That time will come," he said, per ESPN.com. "My focus is not on that right now; it's just celebrating this—what a great season we had—with my teammates."

Morant was more interested in talking about the end of Murray State's season and what was going through his head late in the game, when he was on the bench with a towel over his head:

"I would say I was just hurt—not being able to take the floor with these guys for the rest of the season, for another game, or possibly two, three, four. But it's been a great season. I really was just thinking back on what all we have accomplished this year, and I'd say I was more hurt not being able to play with these guys for the remainder of the season."

It would be surprising if Morant returned to school. He's a lock to be a top-five pick and could go as high as No. 2 in this year's NBA draft. B/R's Jonathan Wasserman projected him as the second overall pick to the Phoenix Suns in his latest mock draft, sandwiching him between Duke's Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett.

He wrote:

"Scouts and executives are warming up to Morant as the next-best thing behind Williamson. The Suns could argue he's the higher-upside prospect over [RJ] Barrett because of his explosive athleticism and potential to make teammates better, seeing as he leads the country in assists and carried Murray State to the NCAA tournament."

Morant averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game, shooting 50.4 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three. The sophomore has steadily been climbing up draft boards all season, and he showcased his talent with a triple-double in Murray State's win over Marquette on Thursday and 28 points in the second-round loss to Florida State.

Morant may not be ready to talk about the NBA, but teams atop the lottery are ready to draft him. 

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