Stuckey leaves E. Wash. to enter NBA draft

Updated: May 23, 2007, 9:10 PM ET
Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Eastern Washington basketball star Rodney Stuckey said Wednesday he will seek a professional career and not return for his junior year in college.

Stuckey has signed with Goodwin Sports Management of Seattle, a move that prevents him from returning to college if he is not drafted by an NBA team.

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"It's tough to lose Rodney, but it is such a phenomenal opportunity for him," EWU coach Mike Burns said. "For us to have one of ours in the NBA is spectacular."

Stuckey, a 6-foot-5 guard from Kent, Wash., said his agents have received information indicating he might be a first-round draft pick.

"They are telling me that teams out there really like me and like what I do," Stuckey said. "This draft is kind of different. There are a lot of big guys out there but there are not a lot of combo guards like me.

"I think sitting down and picking the agency to represent you is the most difficult part," Stuckey said. "I sat down hours and hours at my house just interviewing people. I'm glad that is done and now the fun is about to start."

Stuckey led the Big Sky Conference in scoring last season at 24.6 points per game. He was second in assists with 5.52 per game and second in steals with 2.45 per game.

The NBA draft is June 28.

Stuckey averaged more than 24 points per game in each of his two seasons at Eastern, ranking among the nation's leaders and rewriting team record books.

Eastern's only previous NBA draftee was Ron Cox, a sixth-round choice by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1977. He never played in the NBA regular season. But Cox will remain as EWU's all-time leading scorer, with 1,741 points. Stuckey finished his career fourth in school history with 1,438 points.

Stuckey was an academic non-qualifier coming out of high school, which scared away higher profile programs. After sitting out one year to work on his grades, he became a member of the all-academic team in the Big Sky Conference, with a 3.34 grade point average, Burns said.

"The greatest story of all is that this young man who will play in the NBA started as a non-qualifier and left as an academic All-American, Burns said.

Stuckey was the Most Valuable Player in the league as a freshman, when he scored a school-record 726 points in 30 games, for a school-record average of 24.2 points per game. That included a school-record 45 in his first conference game.

However, the Eagles were just 30-29 in his two seasons, and last year failed to make the Big Sky Conference tournament.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press