Bass was SEC player of the year

Updated: April 20, 2005, 4:46 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS -- This is a tough spring for Brandon Bass. The LSU sophomore is agonizing over whether to play another year of basketball at LSU, where he earned the Southeastern Conference Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors this season, or head to the NBA draft.

"I'm in a win-win, lose-lose situation," Bass said on Wednesday. "It's going to be really tough to make this decision."

Bass has until May 14 to decide if he will make himself available for the NBA draft. Last year he decided to test the water, declaring he was available, but withdrawing later. A player can only do that once and return to his old team, however. If Bass declares this year he can't play for LSU again.

"That's weighing on my mind," Bass said.

Bass was a big part of LSU's success this season, averaging 17.3 points per game (third best in the SEC), 9.1 rebounds (2nd in the SEC) while leading the league in field goal shooting at 56.7 percent. He scored in double figures in 27 of 30 games with 12 double doubles.

The Tigers finished the season 20-10 overall and 12-4 in the SEC. After shaking off early-season problems, LSU tied for the SEC Western Division title.

"We're going to have a good team next year no matter what," LSU coach John Brady said. "But we have an opportunity to have an outstanding team, perhaps the best we've had, if he does return."

The Tigers would have a much better chance of making a run in the conference and the NCAA Tournament next season if Bass returned, Brady said.

"That's what I'm thinking about now," Bass said. "Next year is an important season for the Tigers."

Bass' mother died when he was 10. He and his younger brother and sister moved to his aunt's house in Baton Rouge.

Estelle Bass, a single mother with five children, suddenly had eight kids to raise on a housekeeper's salary.

"She hasn't said anything about this decision," Bass said. "It's just me, myself and I working on it."

Bass has talked to him about the decision, Brady said. Both Bass and Brady have consulted with the NBA advisory board about where Bass might go in the draft, Brady said.

"I'm for Brandon doing what's best for him," Brady said. "It's a critical decision for him and I know he'll give it a lot of thought and make the right one."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press