Sophomore guard Semaj Christon is leaving Xavier to enter the NBA draft.

Ten days after losing to NC State in an NCAA tournament First Round game in Dayton, the Musketeers' 6-foot-3 scoring leader confirmed plans to forego his last two years of eligibility in favor of a run at professional basketball.

"I feel like it was just the best time for me to take my talents to the next level," Christon said Friday. "I talked to my mom about it. I thought about it for a couple weeks. I felt like was the time for me to take a shot at my dreams."

After being sidelined at the start of his freshman season with an infected elbow, Christon made an indelible mark on the program. He amassed 1,034 points, 281 assists and 90 steals in 64 games and become the second player in Xavier history to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a sophomore.

Big East coaches tabbed Christon as a unanimous selection for the all-conference first team and many spoke of his talents in post-game press conferences. Not only was he dangerous in transition, but his ability to get to the rim or find the open man facilitated the team's third-place finish in its Big East debut.

He worked on improving his outside shot from freshman to sophomore year. The next step, he said, is returning to Cintas Center to work out for his journey to the NBA draft on June 26.

Xavier coach Chris Mack said Christon also will be hiring an agent in coming weeks.

"He's very, very committed to becoming an NBA player and feels like this is the right time," Mack said. "Everybody's going to have their opinions, from the draft boards to people in the media. Ultimately it's one person's decision: Semaj's. And he feels like this is the right time for him to make this next step."

Mock draft boards have Christon in varying positions. NBAdraft.net lists him as a late first-round pick, which comes with guaranteed money. DraftExpress.com lists him as second-rounder, which does not.

Mack said Christon did a great job in his two years with the program, playing hard and with integrity.
Christon said he "learned a lot" at XU in terms of being a team player and leader on the court. He took to Twitter to thank Xavier fans, coaches and his teammates, finishing one entry with "LOVE XAVIER."

RICHARDS TRANSFERRING: Christon's news came on the heels of another roster change. Freshman forward Kamall Richards is transferring, the school announced Friday.

It was a rocky year for the Brooklyn, N.Y. native, who played in only seven games and tore the ACL in his left knee in January. He underwent surgery and missed the last three months of the season.

Richards averaged 3.3 minutes, 0.7 points and 0.6 rebounds for the Musketeers.

"We wish Kamall the best and hope he finds success beyond Xavier University," Mack said. "The decision will allow Kamall to get fully healthy in his sit out year so that he can make the type of impact he wants to at the Division I level."