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Monday, May 5, 2003
Updated: May 7, 6:59 PM ET
Forget Syracuse, Carmelo signs with Bill Duffy

By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com

Carmelo Anthony, the Syracuse freshman forward who plans to enter this year's NBA draft, eliminated any chance that he will return to lead the Orangemen to another NCAA title by signing with BDA Sports Management to represent him.

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Anthony, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward, was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player after leading Syracuse to an 81-78 victory over Kansas in the men's basketball title game on April 7. NCAA rules allow underclassmen to test their draft status and still maintain their amateur standing if they rescind their draft eligibility by June 19, so long as they do not sign with an agent.

"We will meet next week to discuss marketing priorities with Carmelo and determine how he wants to be branded," said Calvin Andrews, who will represent Anthony along with his other BDA Sports clients, Orlando Magic forward Drew Gooden and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kareem Rush.

Anthony, who will turn 19 in three weeks, received enough attention throughout the Orangemen's championship run that he is projected to be selected among the top three players in this year's draft. Anthony averaged 22.2 points and 10 rebounds per game in his only season on the college level.

"We think Carmelo has the opportunity to become one of the best pure 3-men in the NBA," BDA president Bill Duffy said

If Anthony is picked second, he will earn a three-year, locked-in rookie scale maximum of $11,596,440. If he is selected third, he will earn a three-year, $10,684,200 deal. In any cases, the team that picks Anthony will have the option to sign him to a fourth-year. The top pick will earn a maximum of $12,961,080 over three years.

Andrews said the presence of LeBron James, the projected No. 1 pick, "has brought the (endorsement) market back up for young athletes."

"Among the shoe companies and the card companies, there's enough money to go around," Andrews said. "But for Carmelo, money is not going to be the issue. He has already told us it will be more about the comfort level he has with a particular company."

BDA Sports represents last year's Nos. 1 and 2 overall picks, Yao Ming and Jay Williams, and already has signed many potential NBA future stars including Mississippi State forward Mario Austin, Boston College guard Troy Bell and BYU guard Travis Hansen.

Yugoslavian forward Darko Milicic, who is the other player projected to be a top-three pick, is represented by Marc Cornstein.

Milicic is the only one of the three who has signed on to a shoe deal. AND 1, the shoe and apparel maker, signed Milicic to a five-year deal in June 2002.

"The strategy for us is to get on-court visibility both domestically and internationally," AND 1 spokesperson Errin Cecil-Smith said. "Darko has a big following in Europe. We know he has a great upside and will make an impact in this country as well."

The company, which outfits roughly 20 percent of NBA players, including Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett and Phoenix Suns guard Stephon Marbury, has two stores in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Cecil-Smith said plans to utilize Milicic have not been determined.

Although it has not been made official, James is expected to be represented by Aaron Goodwin, who has Milwaukee Bucks guard Gary Payton as a client.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn3.com