04/19/2013 11:30 EDT | Updated 06/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Kelly Olynyk Declares For NBA Draft

Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk reacts after Saint Mary's called time out during the second half of the West Coast Conference tournament championship NCAA college basketball game, Monday, March 11, 2013, in Las Vegas. Gonzaga won 65-51. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

After a breakout season in the NCAA, Kelly Olynyk will drop out of school early to enter the NBA draft.

"It was a really tough decision," said Olynyk in a news release on Friday. "I love this place, I love my teammates, but the NBA has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid so it was something I had to act on."

Olynyk, 22, hails from Kamloops, B.C. and made the much-anticipated announcement on his 22nd birthday.

"It will be a journey, but I think it will be a fun one. You have to make sure you are ready to go and you are ready to play. You're just moving on and you don't know what's going to happen up there," said Olynyk.

The seven-foot-tall forward was thrust into the national spotlight after he led the Gonzaga University Bulldogs to a No. 1 seed during March Madness with a 32-3 overall record in the 2011-12 season.

"We are very proud of what Kelly was able to accomplish at Gonzaga both on the court and in the classroom," said head coach Mark Few.

Olynyk is currently busy wrapping up his first semester at Gonzaga pursing a MBA. He graduated in December with a degree in accounting, finishing with a 3.53 GPA.

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