Pavel Podkolzine, the 7-foot-5, 18-year-old from Siberia, Russia, has pulled his name out of the NBA Draft and will return to his Italian professional team for at least one more season.
Podkolzine's agent, Justin Zanik, faxed a letter to the NBA at 4 p.m. ET Thursday. Zanik said after speaking to all 29 teams, there was a consensus that Podkolzine would be a first-round pick, but no team would guarantee it would select him.
The 303-pound teenager wanted to be cautious, and without a guarantee was adamant about returning to Europe.
The deadline for high school players and college underclassmen who have not signed with an agent to withdraw their name from the draft was 5 p.m. ET Thursday.
"It is about him not wanting to take the chance," said Zanik. "He believes in his talent, I believe in his talent. We believe he is a top 10 player. So he will go back to Europe and take more time. He needs the experience." Full story
At the end of a day of fretting and wondering as the deadline to pull out of the draft approached, two colleges received some good news.
Nelson, a 5-11 first team All Atlantic 10 performer, said he wasn't guaranteed a spot in the first round of the draft and liked the opportunity waiting for him back in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, after a meeting with Tech coach Bob Knight, Emmett has decided to return for a final season in Lubbock.
Let the rich get richer.
Connecticut, the preseason favorite to capture the 2004 NCAA title, will have the services of mega-recruit Charlie Villanueva next season.
The 6-foot-10 Queens, N.Y., native will inform the Huskies coaching staff he is pulling his name from the draft, according to a source close to the decision.
The McDonald's All-American from New Jersey's Blair Academy had orally committed to Illinois last fall but reneged on that commitment when Illini coach Bill Self left for Kansas. He then orally committed to the Huskies in May before deciding to test the NBA Draft waters in the meantime.
Alabama's Williams to stay in draft
Alabama sophomore guard Maurice Williams has told numerous sources around him that he will remain in the draft and forgo his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility.
It is not officially known what Williams has done, but no one around the player or at Alabama expects him to return to campus as of the deadline.
Williams, a 6-2 point from Jackson, Miss., averaged 16.4 points and 3.9 assists a game last season.
Most NBA scouts say Williams is a borderline first-round pick and probably does not have a promise that he will be given a guaranteed NBA contract. He is a dynamic playmaker but he struggled at times during the Tide's somewhat disappointing season.
Ebi, Lampe keep names in draft
Ndudi Ebi, a 6-10 forward from Houston has decided to forgo college and left his name in the draft, according to a source close to the process.
Also, Maciej Lampe, a 7-0, 265-pound native of Poland has decided to remain in the draft according to his agent Keith Kreiter. Lampe is likely to move up in the lottery with Podkolzine's decision to pull out of the draft and return to his Italian professional team.
There are no such guarantees for Ebi, a McDonald's All-American who signed a national letter of intent last fall with Arizona. The 18-year-old has spent the spring working out for NBA teams and training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
An athletic forward with immense potential, he has not received a promise of being selected in the first round, but is willing to risk making a NBA roster even if he falls into the early second.
Ebi's decision is somewhat of a blow to Arizona. The Wildcats are loaded with talent, but could have used the young talent.
High-schooler Outlaw stays in draft
Travis Outlaw, a 6-foot-9 forward from Starkville, Miss., who had signed a letter of intent with Mississippi State, will keep his name in the draft, according to a source close to the decision.
The athletically gifted but thin player feels very confident he will get a guaranteed contract from an NBA team even if he is not selected until early in the second round. The Outlaw camp, however, believes there is a good chance he will be selected in the first round.
Outlaw was a McDonald's All-American this year at Starkville High. He follows in the footsteps of Picayune, Miss., native Jonathan Bender in becoming the second recent MSU recruit to skip college and head directly to the NBA.