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Star center wants to complete degree

4/27/2005 - Duke Blue Devils

DURHAM, N.C. - Shelden Williams will skip this year's NBA
draft and return for his senior year at Duke.

Williams, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season and a
rugged inside presence who earned third-team all-America honors
from The Associated Press, was considered a potential candidate for
the draft.

Williams said in a statement Monday that he has decided to
pursue his goal of earning a degree.

"For that reason along with others, I am going to pass on the
opportunity to enter the NBA draft," Williams said in a statement.
"I am looking forward to finishing off my academic career with a
degree and also returning to the playing court to help Duke compete
for the national championship next season."

Williams averaged 15.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.7 blocked
shots while helping Duke to a 27-6 record and the ACC tournament
championship last season.

The announcement means Duke will return two first-team
all-conference performers in Williams and senior J.J. Redick, and
add a strong recruiting class that includes forward Josh McRoberts
and guard Greg Paulus.

The news also comes just days after rival North Carolina lost
juniors Sean May and Raymond Felton, as well as freshman Marvin
Williams, to the NBA draft.

Another junior, Rashad McCants, has also announced that he would not return to help the Tar Heels defend their NCAA title.

The loss of the quartet alongside seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie
Manuel and Melvin Scott means the Tar Heels will have to replace
their top seven scorers from this year's team.