Thompson opts for senior season over draft
LOS ANGELES -- Dijon Thompson will return to UCLA for his senior season and not enter the NBA draft.
Thompson didn't sign with an agent, leaving him eligible to return to school.
He attended a pre-draft camp in Chicago, where he was evaluated by NBA scouts, general managers and teams.
"I was advised that one year back in school, to develop my body and touch up on some skills, will put me in a better position next year to hopefully get into the first round," Thompson said Wednesday.
"But that's not the only reason I'm staying. UCLA means a lot to me and so does getting my degree."
He had to withdraw from draft consideration by Thursday. He is on track to graduate in December with a history degree.
Thompson was the Bruins' leading scorer (14.4 points) last season, when the team finished 11-17, completing consecutive losing seasons for the first time in 62 years.
The 6-foot-7 guard-forward was forced to play most of the season at shooting guard because of injuries. However, his natural position is small forward.
"He has made overall improvement since our season ended," UCLA coach Ben Howland said. "He will have a great shot at being a high draft pick at the conclusion of his senior season."
Forward Trevor Ariza decided to enter the draft after one season with the Bruins. He hired an agent, making him ineligible to return to school.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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