SPOKANE, Wash — Corey Kispert set a goal, and if you know him, it’s no surprise that he reached it.
"It kind of felt like it was the right thing to do," said Kispert of declaring for the NBA Draft. "It was a goal of mine to be at this point at the beginning of the year. It was just really helpful that our coaches kind of pushed me in this direction too. They were like, 'This is something you need to explore and we want you to get all the information that you can.' It made it really easy. It was kind of the right choice from the beginning."
And from the beginning of his announcement on Thursday, Corey was struck by how Gonzaga fans reacted.
"Just to see the outpouring of support and people wishing me luck and stuff, like that is really important. I get a lot of people have their own personal interests, and to see them kind of put that aside and wish me luck whether they want me to go or come back is really important. It meant a lot," Kispert said.
Since Corey didn’t hire an agent coming back is still an option, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have people getting his name out there. You may have heard of one of them.
"Coach Few does a good job, and he knows everybody," said the junior forward. "He’s been calling people like crazy for me. He’s done a great job with that. Seeing which teams are interested, setting up interviews, stuff like that has not been a problem."
Corey sees declaring for the draft but maintaining his eligibility as a win-win.
Either he goes pro, or he comes back to one of the best teams in the country next year.
"That’s kind of where I have a little bit of an advantage," he said. "I’m in a position where I can take what they have to give me or come back and play for a really highly ranked team with a lot of hype and all that stuff. I’m choosing between two really good things. It’s going to take a lot for me to leave and hopefully I can get that."
Speaking of next year?
Corey is ready for the expectations, should he return.
"We’ve kind of had our eye on this for awhile now. Even going into last year, like our 'rebuilding year,' everybody’s eyes were kind of set on this year. The hype is real, and it’s well merited. We’re in good shape," Kispert said.
For the next month and some change though he’s focusing on the present, courtesy of some advice from former teammates Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke.
"Just soak it all in and enjoy it. They kind of reiterated to me over and over like, 'Whatever you chose Corey, Gonzaga’s a special place. We know that now that we’ve left looking at it from the outside. But also the NBA is really great to. Whatever you chose, you’re going to have a blast and it’s going to be the right thing for you. We’re really excited for you either way.'"