West to forego senior season with Hawks

Updated: June 17, 2004, 8:40 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Saint Joseph's junior guard Delonte West will stay in the draft and not return for his senior season, Hawks coach Phil Martelli told ESPN.com Thursday.

West telephoned Martelli on Thursday afternoon, a few hours before the 5 p.m. ET deadline to withdraw from the June 24 draft and told him he would forego his remaining eligibility.

West
West

It was a surprising move, considering West isn't projected as a first-round pick. Only first-round picks are guaranteed contracts in the NBA.

West, who would have been a first- or second-team preseason All-American had he returned to Saint Joseph's, worked out for Miami on Thursday with teammate and consensus player of the year senior Jameer Nelson.

West left Chicago after the pre-draft camp Tuesday and headed to San Antonio. He then went to Miami on Wednesday, leaving Martelli to believe he wouldn't return to Saint Joseph's.

"When I got word he did that, that's when I knew he wasn't coming back,'' Martelli said. "I just waited for the phone call.''

West worked out for Portland, Chicago, Indiana, Boston, New Jersey and Orlando prior to the pre-draft camp. West, who averaged 18.9 points a game for the Hawks last season, failed to get a guarantee in the first round of the draft. The 6-4 West, who battled a sprained foot in Chicago, tried to play the point guard at the camp. He played in two of three games, averaging 10.5 points, dishing out 8 assists and turning the ball over seven times.

The Hawks reached the Elite Eight, losing to Oklahoma State, behind Nelson and West, going 27-0 in the regular season before losing to Xavier in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.

The Hawks lose one of the top backcourts in the country now that West has joined Nelson in the draft. But they still return key members of last season's team in Pat Carroll, Chet Stachitas, Dwayne Lee, John Bryant and Dwayne Jones.

"We're not going to have a team next year," Martelli quipped in response to West's departure. "We decided to cancel the season. No, it just means we'll be younger."

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com. Information from the Associated Press was also used in this report.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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