Love and Westbrook To Enter NBA Draft Without An Agent
By Bruin Basketball Report
Freshman Kevin Love and sophomore Russell Westbrook announced today at separate press conferences that they planned to place their names in the NBA draft this summer but would not sign with agents. In addition, they both will continue to attend classes this year so as not to harm UCLA athletic's academic standing.
By not immediately signing with an agent, either player can pull his name out of the draft up to ten days prior and still retain his collegiate eligibility. This year's draft will take place June 26.
However more than likely, both players will follow their path to the NBA draft this summer.
Love went home to Lake Oswego, Oregon over the weekend to contemplate his decision to leave early. He consulted with his family, father Stan Love, UCLA Coach Ben Howland, and legendary Coach Wooden on his decision to ultimately enter the draft.
"I'm in the right spot to take my game to the next level," Love said. "This past year has been truly special.
Love indicated he wanted to give back to the school as well as eventually return and earn his undergraduate degree from UCLA.
The freshman center is expected to be a mid to late lottery pick. Coach Howland mentioned last week Love might go as high as No.4 in the draft.
Love helped lead UCLA to a third consecutive Final Four this season. He averaged 17.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in 39 games and was named the Pac-10 Player of the year and a First Team All-American in his freshman season.
“Kevin is going to have a long and successful career in the NBA when he chooses that path and I’m very happy for him and wish him nothing but the best,” UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland said. “He completed the greatest freshman year in the history of UCLA basketball. The entire UCLA family will be rooting for him for the rest of his career.”
Westbrook indicated he would remove his name from the draft only if it appeared he might fall to the 20th pick or below. But with most mock drafts indicating Westbrook to be lottery selection, its unlikely he will return to Westwood next season.
The sophomore guard had a break-out season, impressing scouts with his athleticism. Westbrook averaged 12.7 points and 4.3 assists in 33.8 minutes of action this season, including highlight reel dunks. In the Final Four game against Memphis, Westbrook led the Bruins in scoring with 22 points. In addition to his offense, Westbrook is a stellar defender who was given the task of locking down the opponent's best offensive perimeter player.
Although he certainly could have benefited from another year of seasoning at the collegiate level, in particular his midrange game, the prospect of receiving big money at the highest level of the game was too tempting.
In somewhat of a surprising development, it had been announced earlier junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute would announce his intentions for next season along with Westbrook at the press conference, however, the plans changed and Mbah a Moute may still hold a press conference either on Friday or Monday.
Mbah a Moute is projected by various mock drafts to be a second round draft, although he may be counting on the NBA tryout camps to showcase his skills to scouts in hopes of moving up the draft list.
Junior guard Darren Collison is still contemplating whether to enter the NBA draft this summer. After a disappointing NCAA tournament, Collison remains undecided.
(photo credit: AP)
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