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Culver Virginia TCU Basketball (copy)

Derek Culver

Junior forward Derek Culver became the first West Virginia player to enter the NBA draft and sign with an agent, thus officially ending his time as a Mountaineer.

Reports began to surface on Monday night that Culver had officially left, with 247sports.com being the first.

Yet, shortly after, Culver took to Instagram to vehemently deny the reports, with teammate Gabe Osabuohien taking to Twitter to refute the news as well.

However, a few hours later, Culver went back on his denial, confirming that he had indeed signed with an agent via a lengthy Instagram statement.

“I released a statement earlier today that I would now like to clarify,” Culver’s statement read. “Some on social media have stated that I have left school. In the heat of the moment, I responded on social media to refute those claims. I have taken stock of my college experience and am now undergoing the difficult decision to plan my future. I have elected to forgo my senior year and currently explore my professional options, which was a difficult decision that I did not take lightly. It is a long process for an athlete to turn professional. For those blessed with the opportunity to play as scholarship athletes, it is difficult to leave our adoptive college family. I tried to articulate earlier that I had not officially announced my intentions publicly to leave school and that reports of me doing so were unconfirmed. I refuted these claims as I felt it unfair for those who have supported me over the years to hear it from other sources before hearing it from me directly.

“Now I would like to state on my terms that I am officially declaring for the NBA Draft and have signed with Athletes Sports Management (ASM). I want to take this time to thank my family, teammates and coaches for all the years of support. I am looking forward to this next chapter.”

Culver’s departure is a significant one for WVU. He averaged 14.3 points and 9.4 rebounds in earning a first-team All-Big 12 spot.

Culver made an impact from the outset of his West Virginia career, starting 14 games as a freshman and averaging 11.5 points. Culver made 67 starts in three seasons.

WVU guards Miles “Deuce” McBride, Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil have each declared for the NBA draft without signing with an agent, thus leaving open the possibility to return to school.

Already in the offseason, WVU coach Bob Huggins has added three transfers, two of which are forwards in Paul Paulicap from DePaul and Dimon Carrigan from Florida International.

Contact Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948 or ryan.pritt@wvgazettemail.com. Follow him on Twitter @RPritt.