Wildcats' Meeks Staying in NBA Draft

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Jodie Meeks is taking his long-range game to the NBA. Luke Harangody decided to return to college for his senior year and a chance to become the leading scorer in Notre Dame history.

The deadline for underclassmen who had declared for the NBA draft but did not hire agents to withdraw was Monday.

Meeks, the slick shooting 6-foot-4 guard from Kentucky, Wake Forest point guard Jeff Teague, Gonzaga forward Austin Daye and Texas A&M forward Chinemelu Elonu were among the notable players who chose to remain draft eligible.

Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez and Georgia Tech power forward Gani Lawal joined Harangody in withdrawing their names and will return to school.

Meeks led the Southeastern Conference in scoring and was eighth nationally with 23.7 points as a junior for Kentucky. He had declared himself eligible for the draft but did not hire an agent, leaving the door open to return to the Wildcats and their new coach John Calipari.

"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."

Meeks provided one of the few highlights in a lackluster Kentucky season when he scored a team-record 54 points against Tennessee.

The 6-foot-8 Harangody was a consistent bright spot for an Irish team that fell short of high expectations and did not make the NCAA tournament. He averaged 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds last season to lead the Big East in both categories in consecutive seasons. He was the league's player of the year in 2008.

"We have a great nucleus next year and I know one of Luke's goals is to get back to the NCAA tournament." coach Mike Brey said. "He also has the chance to carve a unique place in the long and storied history of the Notre Dame basketball program."

Harangody needs 738 points next season to pass Austin Carr as Notre Dame's leading scorer. He needs 370 rebounds to pass Tom Hawkins as the school's leading rebounder.

Teague led the Demon Deacons (24-7) in scoring at 19 points per game, helping them earn a No. 1 ranking in January before being upset by Cleveland State 84-69 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

"I'm very excited for the opportunity that Jeff has in front of him," coach Dino Gaudio said. "It's his dream to play in the NBA. I'm glad we were able to help him reach that goal.

"I told his mom and dad, 'Thanks for giving me the opportunity to coach your son for two years.'"

Gaudio said he figured Teague was a 50-50 bet to stay in the draft when he first declared, and he expects the 6-foot-2 guard will be a first-round pick.

Daye averaged 12.7 points and 5.8 rebounds as a sophomore for Gonzaga.

Elonu, a 6-10 junior, averaged 9.8 points and a team-best 7.3 rebounds and had 53 blocked shots. He set a school record by shooting 66.5 percent from the field.

The Aggies got some good news on Monday, too. Guard Donald Sloan and forward Bryan Davis announced they would be back next season.

Vasquez led Maryland in scoring (17.5 ppg), rebounding (5.4 rpg) and assists (5.0 apg) last season.

Lawal, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 15.1 points and 9.5 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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