Point guard will return for his final season

Updated: June 20, 2005, 11:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Chris Hernandez decided to pull out of this month's NBA draft and will return to play a final season at Stanford.

Hernandez, who decided in April to test his value in the draft, filed paperwork last Friday with the NBA declaring his intention to stay in school.

"This spring was a great learning experience and I'm hoping the improvements I made will carry over into next season," Hernandez said Monday.

A point guard, Hernandez averaged 15.2 points and 4.0 assists per game last season for Stanford, leading the depleted Cardinal to a third-place finish in the Pac-10 and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Stanford (18-13) struggled early in coach Trent Johnson's first season but recovered down the stretch despite losing leading scorer Dan Grunfeld to a knee injury Feb. 12.

Hernandez played a key role, scoring a career-high 37 points in a 78-65 win over UCLA on Feb. 20 and averaging 19 points over the last eight games.

Stanford is projected as one of the top teams in the conference next season behind the trio of Hernandez, Grunfeld and Matt Haryasz.

"Chris is coming back to a great environment at Stanford next year and will be able to be a part of what we feel could be a pretty good basketball team," Johnson said. "We look forward to the strong leadership he will provide the team next season."

Other draft updates
Tiago Splitter, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Brazil, will pull out of the NBA draft even though he was expected to be a Top 10 selection. Splitter was unable to get out of his contract in Spain, and there are indications he will attempt to negotiate a buyout in time to enter the 2006 draft.

Martynas Andriuskevicius, a 7-foot-3 center from Lithuania will stay in the draft. Andriuskevicius was advised by Arvydas Sabonis and Zydrunas Ilgauskus, both from his hometown of Kaunas, Lithuania, that he should stay in the draft no matter where he is projected to be selected.

Information from ESPN Radio's Doug Gottlieb was used in this report.