Mills enters NBA draft, will not hire agent
BRISBANE, Australia -- Saint Mary's star guard Patty Mills will make himself available for the NBA draft in June, possibly giving up the final two years of his college basketball eligibility in the United States.
Mills, a member of the Australian national team, concluded his second season with the Gaels, averaging career highs of 18.7 points, 4.0 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game. Saint Mary's lost in the quarterfinals of the NIT college tournament.
On Friday, he told a teleconference initiated by Basketball Australia from Saint Mary's in Moraga, Calif., that he would not sign with an agent ahead of the June 25 draft at Madison Square Garden, allowing him to return to school if he is not selected.
"It's a win-win situation for me," Mills said. "If I don't get all the feedback that I want or need, I come back for my third year."
Players who declare their availability for the NBA draft can also pull their name beforehand to retain their college eligibility as long as they haven't employed an agent.
The 30 players chosen in the first round of the draft are guaranteed three-year contracts.
"It was a tough decision to come across ... sitting down with my family and coach," Mills said. "I really need to push myself and challenge myself to the next level, test the waters and get the feedback."
Mills, 20, said he has no particular NBA team in mind.
"I will come across them in the next few weeks," he said. "We'll sit down and sort out the teams. Right now, I have to work on my conditioning, my basketball. These are the things I am worrying about at this point."
First up, though, are his remaining classes this school year.
"I still have another semester left and I am doing the best I can to finish them off," Mills said. "I have never been in this situation, I'm new to it all ... learning how to handle the off-court distractions as well as my work on court."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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