On Sunday evening, Ryan Anderson and his family shut down the NBA draft discussion, whipped up a big dinner-time breakfast and sat down to watch an old movie, "The Courtship of Eddie's Father.''
On Monday morning, the courtship of Ryan Anderson ended with the Cal forward deciding to bypass his final two years of college eligibility and remain in the June 26 NBA draft.
Anderson called the decision "the hardest I've maybe ever had to make." But after canceling a planned workout Sunday in Utah, Anderson hashed out the pros and cons with his family.
"I prayed on it, slept on it, and I got up and knew it was the right decision," he said.
Anderson's announcement came after two weeks of individual workouts with NBA teams across the country, and it leaves new coach Mike Montgomery without the Golden Bears' centerpiece player.
The 6-foot-10 native of El Dorado Hills near Sacramento was the Pac-10 scoring leader at 21.1 points per game last season while averaging 9.9 rebounds.
"We are obviously disappointed but excited for Ryan as he moves ahead with his basketball career," Montgomery said in a statement. "These are tough decisions that young players are faced with. We wish Ryan well and would like to thank Ryan for his contributions to California basketball."
Anderson said last Thursday that the feedback he'd gotten from NBA teams mostly suggested he would be taken somewhere between the 17th and 25th picks. He also said no team had committed to picking him.
Only first-round picks typically are given guaranteed contracts.
Nothing really changed by Monday morning, Anderson conceded. Even so, he was comfortable with his decision.
"It was pretty clear these teams were telling me I'm going to be a first-round pick. That's what I wanted to hear," Anderson said. "They're telling me, `Ryan, you're going to be an NBA player.' I just feel I'm ready and should take that jump."
As many as eight or nine Pac-10 players are projected as possible first-round picks, but as of Monday morning neither ESPN.com, draftexpress.com nor NBAdraft.net listed Anderson as a first-rounder in their online mock drafts.
Anderson said he ignored those, paying attention instead to what NBA general managers told him. They liked his 3-point shooting and rebounding ability, and explained how he could be effective as a pick-and-pop shooter from the perimeter.
"They all know I'm a big guy who can shoot. That's really attractive to these teams," said Anderson, who made 122 shots from beyond the 3-point arc in his two seasons at Cal. "That's what my niche is going to be."
Anderson said that although he can improve his strength and quickness, he knows he won't become a "freak athlete" in the next year, elevating himself into the 2009 draft lottery.
He also came to the conclusion that remaining at Cal might be a move made out of familiarity, and that instead he needed to challenge himself at a new level.
The decision was made tougher, he said, because it meant saying goodbye to his teammates and the prospect of a successful 2008-09 season. Anderson remains optimistic about the Bears and said he's heard rumors Cal might get 6-10 transfer Alex Stepheson, who left North Carolina earlier this spring after his sophomore season.
While praising ex-coach Ben Braun and his staff, Anderson also acknowledged that the arrival of Montgomery made the decision more difficult.
"Montgomery is going to know how to control everyone's motives and get everyone on the right page. That's what I think we've struggled with a little bit in the past," Anderson said. "I just hope the guys do wonderfully."
Had Anderson returned, the Golden Bears likely would have fielded an all-junior starting lineup that would have been projected to compete in the upper half of the Pac-10. Now the Bears may have to play smaller, with senior center DeVon Hardin also departing for the NBA draft. Cal has three centers — Taylor Harrison, Jordan Wilkes and Max Zhang — but none boasts much of a resume.
For Anderson, whose 1,236 career points are the most by any Cal player after his sophomore season, the decision to go boiled down to following his heart.
"I realized this is something I've always wanted to do," he said, "and it's a dream for me."
Contact Jeff Faraudo at firstname.lastname@example.org.