June 15, 2009

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky top scorer Jodie Meeks has decided to leave the Wildcats and remain in consideration for the NBA draft.

Coach John Calipari posted Monday on Twitter that Meeks had called to let him know about the decision. The school also released a statement.

"I want to thank the fans and the city of Lexington," Meeks said in the statement. "They have been great and I will always be a Kentucky Wildcat. I feel comfortable with my decision and I'm confident in my ability. My family and I talked over the weekend and decided this was the best decision."

Calipari wrote on Twitter that he understood the decision for Meeks, who led the Southeastern Conference in scoring and was eighth nationally with 23.7 points.

"He's excited and I'm excited for him," Calipari said. "I wish I got the chance to coach him."

The decision is one of few setbacks in Calipari's efforts to amass a star-studded roster. He has landed some of the nation's top recruits, and center Patrick Patterson decided not to go pro.

Meeks provided one of the few highlights for a lackluster Kentucky season when he scored a team-record 54 points against Tennessee. Not only was that the highest-scoring game in Division I last season, but Meeks also had the next two highest in non-overtime games, with 46 and 45 points.

As the Southeastern Conference's leading scorer, he made the conference's first team and became the first player in SEC history to win conference player of the week honors four times in one season.

Meeks started all 36 games and led the SEC in free-throw shooting (90.2), 3-point field goal shooting (40.6) and 3-point field goals per game (3.25). His 117 3-pointers were a Kentucky record.

The guard from Norcross, Ga., had one season of eligibility remaining. He will be the first Wildcat underclassman to join the NBA since Randolph Morris and Rajon Rondo in 2006.

With Meeks' departure, Kentucky was nearing finalizing its full scholarship list for 2009-2010. Spokesman DeWayne Peevy said the school was preparing an announcement on that, but it was not ready on Monday.

Among the players not returning is Kevin Galloway, who told the Lexington Herald-Leader Calipari had encouraged him to go.

Galloway could be looking for a fourth college team after previously playing for Southern California, Southern Idaho and Kentucky. He averaged 10 minutes and 1.9 points last year for the Wildcats.

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Wake Forest star Jeff Teague is staying in the NBA draft, ending his college career after just two seasons.

Teague announced in April he would declare for the draft but not hire an agent, allowing him the option of returning to school for his junior year. But coach Dino Gaudio said Teague told him shortly before Monday afternoon's deadline to withdraw that he would stay in the draft.

Teague is the second sophomore to declare from the Demon Deacons, joining forward James Johnson.

Teague led the Demon Deacons (24-7) at about 19 points per game, helping them earn a No. 1 ranking in January before being upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Teague was a second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference pick.

The draft is June 25.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Gonzaga forward Austin Daye will remain eligible for the NBA draft, skipping his final two seasons.

Monday was the deadline to remove his name from the June 25 draft.

Daye averaged 12.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) -- The University of Connecticut says freshman basketball player Ater Majok has removed his name from the NBA draft.

Majok, a 6-foot-10 forward, said in April that he planned to use the pre-draft period to assess where he stood with the NBA, but planned to return to school.

UConn coach Jim Calhoun has said there is also a possibility that Majok could leave school and play in Europe.

Majok, a former refugee from Sudan, is not eligible to play at Connecticut until the end of the 2009 fall semester. His name has also been linked peripherally to an NCAA investigation into possible recruiting violations at UConn.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia Tech, coming off its worst ACC finish in 28 years, should be well-stocked for a comeback season.

Forward Gani Lawal confirmed on Monday he will return for his junior season and will withdraw his name from the NBA draft. He will be joined by four returning starters and one of coach Paul Hewitt's top recruiting classes, raising hopes the Yellow Jackets should improve after finishing 12-19 overall last season, including a 2-14 record in Atlantic Coast Conference games.

Georgia Tech's 2-14 ACC finish was its worst since 1980-81, when the Yellow Jackets finished 4-23 overall and 0-14 in the league. Bobby Cremins' 19-year run as head coach began the following year.

Lawal, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds. He ranked second in the ACC in rebounds and led the league in double-doubles.

"Gani's return may be the most significant factor for our team's success looking ahead to next season," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said.

Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez has decided to remain for his senior season at the school, the Baltimore Sun reported

Vasquez was the emotional as well as scoring, rebound and assist leaders for the Terps last year.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Mac Koshwal informed the program Friday that he will return for his junior season. The 6-foot-10-inch post player averaged 12.2 points and 9.6 rpg for the Blue Demons last year. "That was the best decision, instead of second guessing it and not knowing where I'll go [in the draft]," Koshwal told the Tribune.

The Austin American-Statesman reported Texas big man Damion James informed Longhorns coach Rick Barnes that he will return to the team for his senior season.

James canceled a workout that was scheduled for Saturday in New Jersey and released the following statement: "This process has been a great learning experience. I've been able to get a much better understanding of how the NBA works and what they are looking for from me. That will definitely help when I go through this process again next year."

James averaged 15.4 ppg for the Longhorns last season and returns to a frontcourt that includes Dexter Pittman and Gary Johnson.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- UCLA guard Jrue Holiday has decided to remain in the NBA draft and will hire an agent, which makes him ineligible to return to the Bruins.

Coach Ben Howland on Saturday confirmed Holiday's decision.

"I'm sure Jrue will be a great NBA player and have a long career," Howland said. "We are very happy for him and wish him well. He will always be a part of the Bruin family."

As a freshman, Holiday started all 35 games last season while helping the Bruins to a 26-9 record and a second-place finish in the Pac-10. He was selected to the conference's all-freshman team.

Holiday averaged 8.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina is getting its all-Southeastern Conference guard back as Devan Downey announced Saturday he is returning to school for his senior season.

The 5-foot-9 floor leader worked out for several NBA teams before making his decision two days before the deadline.

"I want to thank my coaches, teammates and fans for being so supportive throughout the process," Downey said in a statement released by the school. "It was a great experience for me, but the best decision for me right now is to come back to school."

The decision is great news for Gamecocks fans and coach Darrin Horn. Downey averaged 19.8 points and 4.5 assists, ranking third in the SEC in both categories. He led the league with 2.9 steals.

South Carolina already has to replace senior Zam Fredrick's 32 minutes and 15.5 points a game. Losing the team's leader would have been a crippling blow for a team that went 20-10, earned a share of the SEC East title and barely missed the NCAA tournament in Horn's first season.

"Devan and I have been on the same page throughout the process," Horn said. "The feedback he received from several NBA teams and personnel will continue to help him grow as a basketball player."

Downey's teammate junior forward Dominique Archie also declared for the NBA draft, but decided to return to school Thursday. Archie averaged 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

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