Bolton fifth Gonzaga starter to declare for NBA draft

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Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton shoots during practice Wednesday, March 23, 2022, in San Francisco. Gonzaga faces Arkansas in a round of 16 game of the NCAA college basketball tournament on Thursday. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Gonzaga guard Rasir Bolton has become the fifth starter to declare for the NBA draft.

''To Zag Nation and the Spokane Community, I love you guys! I appreciate the love and support you all had for us as a team and for welcoming me with open arms, I am forever grateful!'' Bolton wrote on social media. ''With that being said, playing in the NBA has been a dream of mine since I first picked up the ball.''

It was unclear whether Bolton has signed with an NCAA-certified agent, which would leave the door open for a return to Gonzaga next season. Bolton, who played one season at Penn State and two more at Iowa State before moving to Spokane, is eligible for a second season at Gonzaga due to a COVID-19 waiver granted to all players who competed in 2020-21.

Four other Gonzaga players have submitted their names to the draft, including projected first-round pick Chet Holmgren, forward Drew Timme, wing Julian Strawther and point guard Andrew Nembhard.

The 6-foot-3 Bolton of Petersburg, Virginia, was an All-West Coast Conference honorable mention after starting all 32 games and averaging 11.2 points per game this season. Bolton led the Bulldogs with 64 3-pointers, shooting 46% from 3-point range.