Young center Aldridge pulls out of draft

Updated: June 15, 2004, 9:33 PM ET
Associated Press

AUSTIN -- Texas 7-foot freshman LaMarcus Aldridge withdrew his name from the NBA draft on Tuesday, two days before the deadline.

Aldridge signed with Texas and started classes this month, but he kept his name in the potential pool for the June 24 draft. Some players register for the draft to see how much interest they will receive from NBA teams.

Wyoming junior point guard Jay Straight also pulled out of the draft Tuesday. He will return to Wyoming for his senior season.

Aldridge, a prep All-American at Seagoville, sent a letter to the NBA withdrawing his name, Texas team spokesman Scott McConnell said.

Aldridge averaged 28.9 points and 13.4 rebounds as a senior and thought he might be a first-round draft pick.

He missed a chance to help raise his profile with the NBA because of a stress fracture in his back that kept him from playing for the national junior select team during Final Four weekend in San Antonio.

Aldridge was the third prep All-American to sign with Texas. He joins guard Daniel Gibson and forward Mike Williams.

Texas coach Rick Barnes called Aldridge's signing "icing on the cake."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press