Harrington may stay in draft, still come

Updated: June 17, 2004, 5:16 PM ET
Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK -- Arkansas coach Stan Heath said Thursday that recruit Al Jefferson hasn't decided yet whether to come to school or stay in the NBA draft.

Arkansas officials say he could do both things.

The 6-foot-9 power forward's deadline was Thursday to inform the NBA if he was withdrawing his name from the draft. But Arkansas officials say Jefferson could keep his name in the draft and still come to school as long he doesn't sign with an agent or the team that selects him.

"Al has not made a decision. He is meeting with his family in hopes of making a decision today," Heath said. "As soon as we have an answer, we can pass that on to our fans, but right now we are encouraged by the fact that he still has a lot of interest in the Razorbacks."

Jefferson entered his name for the draft but since he hasn't signed with an agent he may still play in college.

Jefferson was Heath's top signee for Arkansas during the early signing period. Ceroy Jefferson, an uncle, said Jefferson was going to make his decision Wednesday night during a family meeting.

Jefferson averaged 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks during his senior season at Prentiss.

He is the third Mississippi high school player to attempt to go from the preps to the pros, joining Jonathan Bender of Picayune in 1999 and Travis Outlaw of Starkville last year.

Several mock drafts have Jefferson as a mid-first-round selection.

Other Arkansas signees for the upcoming season include center Stephen Hill of Branson, Mo., forward Charles Thomas of Jackson, Miss., forward Darian Townes of Alexandria, Va., and point guard Dontell Jefferson, a transfer from Atlanta Metropolitan College.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press