Mississippi State's Gordon declares for NBA draft
Ford: Who's In, Who's Out
Underclassmen will transform the 2008 NBA draft. Chad Ford takes a look at who's going, who's staying and who's on the fence. Story
Gordon told The Associated Press he filed the paperwork Tuesday afternoon. In a phone interview, Gordon said he intends to go through with the draft if he remains injury-free and expects his gamble will pay off.
"I was excited about all the information I was getting," Gordon said.
Gordon sent a letter to the NBA last spring to declare for the draft, then withdrew it two days later. Players can declare for the draft, then withdraw without losing their eligibility only once during their college careers, but because Gordon changed his mind so quickly last year, his letter hadn't been logged yet.
Since he did not appear on the NBA's official early entry list in 2007, Gordon could return to college this time as long as he doesn't hire an agent. The deadline to withdraw is 10 days before the June 26 draft.
Mark Broussard, the NBA's director of communications, said the league won't confirm receiving Gordon's letter until after the April 27 deadline to declare has passed.
Gordon said a handful of scouts he consulted told him he'd likely be a first-round pick.
Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury was on the road recruiting and did not immediately return a message left with his spokesman by the AP. Gordon said he had not yet informed Stansbury of his decision, but that the two had spoken about the future this spring.
"He agrees with me," Gordon said. "Right after this season he pulled me into his office and he told me he thought I should give it a try because he thought I had a good year, a good, solid career. He thought I'd go in the first round and everything. He was all positive about it."
A 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior from Nashville, Tenn., Gordon was an all-Southeastern Conference selection this season and just lost out to Vanderbilt's Shan Foster for league player of the year honors. He averaged 17.2 points per game and was one of the SEC's most difficult matchups.
His departure leaves Stansbury with three starters to replace. Mississippi State also loses senior forward Charles Rhodes and sophomore forward Ben Hansbrough, who decided to transfer.
Gordon led the Bulldogs to two straight SEC West titles and into the second round of the NCAA tournament this season.
"I think I had a good year this year and I just think I'm ready to take it to the next level," Gordon said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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