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Basketball: No surprise — Pac-12 Player of Year Allen Crabbe announces he will enter NBA draft

Cal junior guard Allen Crabbe, the Pac-12 Player of the Year, announced today he will enter the NBA draft.

There was no word in Cal’s news release about whether Crabbe intends to immediately hire an agent. If he holds off on doing so, he could withdraw his name from the draft by April 16.

That doesn’t seem likely. Crabbe’s father said barely a week ago that his son wasn’t likely to put his name in the draft until the April 28 deadline because there would be no flexibility after the withdrawal date.

By submitting his name for the draft now, Crabbe seems in for good.

“It has been a dream of mine to play at the next level for a long time and I feel deep down in my heart this is the right decision,” Crabbe said in a statement. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Cal and learned a lot from my coaches and teammates. I will miss a lot of people at this University both in basketball and in school. I will always be a Golden Bear at heart.”

His announcement comes on the same day that Cal’s top 2013-14 incoming freshman, Jabari Bird of Salesian HS, is set to play in the McDonald’s All-America game in Chicago.

Bird plays the same position as Crabbe and will provide the Bears a big-time scoring threat when he arrives next fall.

Aside from Crabbe, Cal is expected to return its other four starters — guards Justin Cobbs and Tyrone Wallace and forwards David Kravish and Richard Solomon. Also returning is┬ájunior guard Ricky Kreklow, who was projected as a starter before last season, then missed much of the year with a nagging foot injury.

Crabbe averaged 18.4 points and 6.1 rebounds this season, earning All-Pac-12 first-team honors for the second straight season. He was named to third-team All-America squads by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the Sporting News.

He ranks 10th on Cal’s career scoring list with 1,537 points in 98 career games over three seasons.

“Allen is an exceptional player and even greater person,” California coach Mike Montgomery said. “He is very talented with a tremendous work ethic and will represent Cal well at the next level. We are proud of all that Allen has accomplished here at Cal and wish him the best in his professional career.”