Marquette Golden Eagles forward Dawson Garcia to enter transfer portal, leaves door open for return

Marquette forward Dawson Garcia announced Friday he planned to enter the transfer portal, potentially becoming the best available transfer while also delivering a blow to new head coach Shaka Smart's roster.

Garcia did leave open the option to return to the Golden Eagles, and he also plans to continue pursuing the NBA draft. He has until July 7 to withdraw his name from the draft.

"I have appreciated the opportunity to explore my professional basketball career in recent months," Garcia wrote on Twitter. "As I continue with that process, I will also be entering my name in the NCAA transfer portal in an effort to research all of my options moving forward, including a potential return to Marquette."

A former McDonald's All-American and top-50 recruit, Garcia earned Big East All-Freshman honors after averaging 13.0 points and 6.6 rebounds during his first season at Marquette. He scored at least 20 points on six occasions, including a 28-point effort against Villanova in February. Garcia also notched three double-doubles.

Garcia has improved his NBA draft stock this spring, rising to No. 100 in ESPN's draft rankings. He was the leading scorer in the G League Elite Camp with 34 points in 41 minutes.

Garcia originally committed to Marquette out of high school over a final four that also included Indiana, Minnesota and Memphis. With each of the top 24 players in ESPN's transfer rankings already committed, Garcia likely becomes the most sought-after transfer on the market.

It's a big blow to Smart, who took over Marquette after leaving Texas in late March. The Golden Eagles had already lost four of their top five scorers, with D.J. Carton turning pro and Koby McEwen, Jamal Cain and Theo John all transferring.