Morris' decision surprises Kentucky

Updated: May 10, 2005, 7:34 PM ET
By Pat Forde | ESPN.com

Kentucky freshman center Randolph Morris has entered his name into the NBA draft but has not retained an agent, sources said.

The news came as a surprise to Kentucky. Before departing campus last Friday for his home in Atlanta, Morris had repeatedly said that he would not enter the draft after a freshman season that was widely viewed as a disappointment. Morris started all season at center but struggled at times with fouls and a lack of rebounding and post moves. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds for a Kentucky team that lost in the regional finals to Michigan State.

Morris nearly declared for the draft last year coming out of Landmark Christian High School in Atlanta. Two of his friends and AAU teammates, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith, were lottery picks. Morris finally decided in the spring to attend college, selecting Kentucky over Georgia Tech.

Kentucky officials would not confirm Morris' decision. Coach Tubby Smith was unavailable Tuesday for comment.

Morris is the second Wildcat to make an unexpected declaration for the NBA this spring. Forward Kelenna Azubuike, who would have been a senior in 2005-06, put his name into the draft shortly after the season ended and has retained an agent, ending his collegiate eligibility. Azubuike is not considered a high draft pick.

A third Kentucky underclassman, point guard Rajon Rondo, has had his name in the draft rumor mill. But his mentor and former coach at Louisville Eastern High School, Doug Bibby, said Tuesday that Rondo will be back for his sophomore season in Lexington.

"After the season was over we talked a little bit," Bibby said. "That conversation came up and it was entertained, but I would love to see Rajon work on his game, improve some things and work his way into a lottery pick."

Underclassmen have until Saturday to put their name into the draft. They can withdraw from the draft in June and return to school if they have not retained an agent.

Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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