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Mock Draft II
Wednesday, June 11
Updated: June 11, 5:55 PM ET
Moore decides NBA can wait another year
Washington State junior guard Marcus Moore will withdraw from the draft and return to school for his senior season, Moore told ESPN.com Wednesday.
Moore played in the Chicago pre-draft camp last week but struggled, averaging 9.3 points with nine assists and 12 turnovers. The 6-foot-5 Moore was supposed to work out for the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, but was back in his hometown of Los Angeles making his decision.
"When I got home, I talked to a few people and found out that I could get into the first round but there was no guarantee," Moore said. "I didn't want to take a gamble and be a second-round pick. I have great respect for that camp and felt I was one of the more talented guys out there, but I didn't play my best."
Moore averaged 18.2 points in 18 games last season for the Cougars. He was slowed by an ankle injury, but was the focal point of former coach Paul Graham's system. He'll likely get a high number of touches under new head coach Dick Bennett, too.
"I want to prove to everyone that I can play in Dick Bennett's system," Moore said. "I'm really excited about the year. I've got a coach who understands what it takes to win and push us to the next level."
Washington State assistant coach Tony Bennett said getting Moore to return was probably the Cougars' "best recruit" of the spring.
"Our program is so excited that Marcus is coming back," Bennett said. "We wanted what was best for him, but with him back there will be good things on the horizon for Washington State."
Moore said he didn't want to spend the money on workouts if he wasn't committed to staying in the draft. He had until June 19 to officially withdraw, but he plans on notifying the NBA immediately.
Moore will enter the 2002-03 season as a preseason candidate for Pac-10 player of the year honors, as well as All-America honors. If he lives up to expectations as a senior, he will certainly be among those vying for first-round consideration in 2004.
"The coaches here really welcomed me back with open arms," Moore said. "I've got a chance to be player of the year in my league outside of the guy at Arizona State (Ike Diogu). I don't know who else could win it."
The Cougars finished a disappointing 7-16 overall, and 2-16 in the Pac-10 last season under Graham. But Moore is convinced the addition of 6-5, 235-pound junior college transfer forward Jeff Varem out of Vincennes, Ind., the Cougars will have the perfect inside-out combination to improve as a team in 2003-04.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz and ESPN Insider's Chad Ford contributed this report.