'I'm confident I can make it,' Garcia says

Updated: April 8, 2005, 1:14 PM ET
Associated Press

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Francisco Garcia will forgo his senior season at Louisville and enter the NBA draft.

"There's no going back. I think I can be a lottery pick," Garcia said Thursday in a conference call with the Dominican media.

The 6-foot-7 forward, who was born in the Dominican Republic but went to high school in New York, said he will participate in several training camps to prepare for the June 28 draft.

"I know my abilities and I'm confident I can make it," he added.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino said Thursday before the announcement that Garcia was ready to turn pro.

"I want him to go pro. I do not want him coming back," Pitino said. "Fans will say, 'Is he crazy?' Probably. But it's a dream of his and the young man wants to go. He's ready for it."

This season, Garcia led the Cardinals in scoring (15.7 points a game), assists (148), steals (65) and blocks (56) as they made the Final Four for the first time since the 1986 championship team.

Garcia also said he will play with the Dominican Republic in the upcoming Tournament of the Americas in Santo Domingo in August and September.

"It's always wonderful to represent your country. I've had that honor several times, but the world championship qualifier will be a very special event for me," he said.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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