Not only do you lose one of the best players in recent memory, you lose a solid citizen, great person and a brilliant student.

There must have been some deep soul-searching ahead of reaching such a decision. Why not play one more year of college ball to really sharpen your skills and become even more appealing to professional scouts? Why risk serious injury playing another year of college ball when you are on pro teams' radar now?

Whatever led to choosing this path, University of Montana Grizzly basketball fans, albeit with heavy hearts, can only wish the very best to two-time All-Big Sky Conference forward Josh Bannan, who announced via his social media accounts, his intentions to forego his senior year of eligibility to pursue a basketball career at the professional level. Whether that means the NBA or the highest pro level in his native Australia, Josh is moving on. And it leaves a huge void in the 2023-24 Griz basketball roster.

Josh earned first-team all-conference honors as a player this season, to go along with his academic honors. He was also named Academic All-Big Sky three times and Academic All-American twice. This season, he led the Griz in scoring, rebounding and assists. His 23 steals tied the team high and 15 blocks were tied for the second most. All of that talent on a 6'10" frame is the definition of versatility.

With undoubtedly genuine sincerity, Josh's social media post included his heartfelt thanks to coaches and teammates: "Thank you for welcoming me into this family, it has been a've been with me from the beginning, recruiting me out of Australia and I appreciate your support and guidance...I also want to take this opportunity to thank my teammates, with whom I have built lasting friendships that I will cherish. My time as a Griz will forever have a special place in my heart and has prepared me for the next stage in my journey."

Josh becomes the fourth player to announce his departure from the team, along with fellow starter Lonnell Martin, Jr. and reserves Trey Lawrence and Jonathon Brown.

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