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Green remains in draft; Hibbert returns to Hoyas

WASHINGTON -- Hanging on the wall of McDonough Gymnasium are
two rows of framed NBA jerseys, representing the 20 Georgetown
players who made the jump to basketball's highest level.

At the other end of the gym hangs the program's lone NCAA
national championship banner, which has been patiently waiting 23
years for a companion.

On Wednesday, Jeff Green went one way. Roy Hibbert went the
other.

The juniors who led Georgetown to this year's Final Four are
breaking up their act. Green announced that he will remain in the
NBA draft, while Hibbert said he will withdraw his name and return
for his senior season -- and a chance at an NCAA championship.

"It's hard for me to leave this place," said Green, the Big
East player of the year. "College is something that happens only
once in your life. It'll be tough knowing I'm not out there with
the guys I came in with."

Had Green and Hibbert both returned, the Hoyas might have begun
next season as the No. 1 ranked team. Instead, Green is leaving
behind the chance at a title and is forsaking his long-stated goal
of playing four years at Georgetown.

"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," Green said. "I'm in a good position to go pretty
high in this draft."

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.

"I didn't want to go out that way," Green said. "But it's the
way I'm going to have to go out. I'm going to have to live with
that."

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. … I feel like
I have unfinished business here."

Green and Hibbert, who both took out insurance policies a year
ago in case an injury ruined their future NBA careers, 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 starting the process of selecting an agent. Once he
hires an agent, he will be ineligible to return as a player,
although he said he will be back at some point to finish his
degree.

With Hibbert as the centerpiece, the Hoyas will still be a
strong team next season. All the starters except Green are
returning, and two top recruits are on the way.

But Green, the player John Thompson III called his "security
blanket," will be almost impossible to replace.

"We're going to miss Jeff," Thompson said. "It's going to be
an adjustment for all of us. We're going to collectively figure it
out. … I'm extremely supportive of both decisions, and we move
on."

Thompson also announced that Kenya Hunter and David Cox will be
his new assistant coaches. Hunter has been an assistant at Xavier,
and Cox has been director of basketball operations at Pittsburgh.
They replace Sydney Johnson, who was hired to coach Princeton, and
Kevin Broadus, who is the new coach at Binghamton.