USC's Young passes on senior year, turns pro

Updated: April 17, 2007, 7:51 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California's Nick Young decided to pass up his senior season and enter the NBA draft because of what it means to his family.

"I want to buy my mom her first house. That's one of the main reasons I made this decision," Young said Tuesday at a news conference on campus. "It was tough for us. They've been behind me all the way.

"The opportunity was there to help them have a better life. It's a blessing. I'm very grateful for everything that's going on."

Young, the sixth-leading scorer in USC history, said he will hire an agent, making his decision irrevocable. His parents, Charles and Mae Young, attended the news conference.

"I think he did the right thing, it's the right thing to come out now," Young's father said.

"Wherever he plays, they'd better get ready because here I come," Mrs. Young said. "I've got a lot to shout about."

The 21-year-old junior said he spoke with several people, including USC coach Tim Floyd and his assistants; his high school coach, his parents, his brother and his Trojans teammates.

"Nick has played well enough to receive consideration from the NBA," Floyd said in a statement. "He has our support and we wish him the best."

Floyd was on a recruiting trip and didn't attend the news conference.

Young averaged 17.5 points and 4.6 rebounds this season, scoring in double figures in USC's last 25 games.

He led the Trojans into the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years and scored 20 points in a 77-60 first-round victory over Arkansas; 22 in an 87-68 second-round triumph over Texas, and 15 in a 74-64 third-round loss to North Carolina.

"What we did last year was very outstanding. I had dreams of doing it next year," Young said. "It was a tough decision. It was a tough thing, leaving this program. I just love this program."

The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder scored 1,486 points in 96 games at USC. He averaged 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman and 17.3 points and 6.6 rebounds as a sophomore, and was chosen to the All Pac-10 first-team the past two years.

Young said he informed Floyd of his decision in a tearful conversation Sunday.

"Coach Floyd didn't want me to leave, but he said, 'First round, I'd do the same thing.' It was hard telling him," Young said. "He's an NBA coach -- he did everything possible to help me on defense, make me a better man."

Floyd coached the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets before coming to USC.

Young said he's been told he'll be a first-round pick.

"I've heard anywhere from 12 to 25," he said. "The opportunity is there for me."

Young played forward and guard at USC. As to his future, he said: "Everybody's saying a 2-guard. I've got to get ready to guard Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady."

Young said he plans to return to school and graduate.

"Oh, yeah, most definitely. I want to come back and get my degree," he said.

Gabe Pruitt, a junior who averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 assists for the Trojans last season, said he's thinking about declaring for the draft, and might not make a decision until the April 29 deadline.

"Even if I did, I wouldn't hire an agent," he said. "It's a big decision, I want to make the right one."

If Pruitt declares without hiring an agent, he could return for his senior year if he withdraws from the draft by June 18.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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