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May 23, 2007

Georgetown's Hibbert pulls out of NBA Draft

WASHINGTON -Jeff Green is staying in the draft. Roy Hibbert is staying put.

The juniors who led Georgetown to the Final Four are going their separate ways. Green announced Wednesday that he will keep his name in the NBA draft, while Hibbert said he will withdraw his name and return for his senior season.

"Just sitting down with my family and coach, I feel like we came to a decision that I should stay in this draft, and it would be the best thing for me after the season that the team had and that I had," said Green, the Big East player of the year. "I'm in a good position to go pretty high in this draft."

By staying in the draft, Green is leaving behind a shot at winning a national championship and is forsaking his long-stated goal of playing four years at Georgetown. With Green and Hibbert, the Hoyas might have entered next season as the No. 1 ranked team.

Green was selected as most outstanding player of the NCAA East Regional as the Hoyas reached the Final Four for the first time in 22 years. The 6-foot-9 forward has a versatile team-oriented game that should serve him well in the pros.

Green led Georgetown in scoring (14.3 points) and was second in both rebounding (6.4) and assists (3.2). However, he sometimes lacks aggressiveness: He took only five shots in the Final Four loss to Ohio State, further evidence that he doesn't yet know when to stop being the team player and take over the game.

Hibbert also isn't a finished product, but he has come a long way since he was a clumsy freshman. He led the Hoyas in rebounds (6.9), averaged 12.9 points and blocked 90 shots this season. A 7-foot-2, he will eventually be a coveted possession in the NBA, where big, traditional post players are becoming harder to find.

"I said to myself, 'Do I really want to go in the draft and sit on the bench?'" Hibbert said. "My heart was here."

The pair submitted their names as early entry candidates last month and have spent their time since then discerning their draft value. If anything, they've learned that the draft is far from a predictable science: Some mock drafts had Green going in the top 10 but not Hibbert, some had it the other way around, while others had both among the first 10 selections.

The draft is June 28, and Green has until June 18 to withdraw his name. He said his decision is not "set in stone," but he also said he is about to start the process of selecting an agent. If he hires an agent, he will be ineligible to return.

For more coverage of Georgetown, visit HoyaReport.



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