Junior wants to help Tigers compete for ACC championship

Updated: June 7, 2007, 2:35 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Clemson junior forward James Mays withdrew from the NBA draft on Thursday, becoming the first prospect who played in the Orlando pre-draft camp to withdraw.

Mays told ESPN.com that he wanted to focus his attention on completing his degree and helping Clemson compete for an ACC championship.

The 6-foot-9 Mays averaged 12.2 points and 6.4 boards for the Tigers, who started hot but flamed out late and missed the NCAA Tournament. Mays rebounded the ball well in Orlando but was not a standout performer. He worked out Tuesday for the Houston Rockets in Orlando, but on Wednesday decided he wasn't ready for the NBA.

"I didn't do enough to stand out," Mays said. "I didn't showcase myself. I knew going in I wasn't a first-round pick and saw that this was the best situation for me."

Clemson's chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament in 2008 didn't rest with Mays, but his return certainly improves the Tigers' chances. Clemson (7-9 ACC, 25-11 overall) will return all but one of its top nine scorers. The only senior was guard Vernon Hamilton. Top scorer and rising junior wing K.C. Rivers (14 ppg) is back along with Mays, Cliff Hammons (11.6) and Trevor Booker (10.4) to give the Tigers four double-figure returning scorers.

The deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft is June 18, 10 days before the draft.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com