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Three of the nation's top high school stars, Shaun Livingston, Al Jefferson and J.R. Smith, will enter the NBA Draft.
None of the prospects will sign with an agent and have until June 17 to withdraw names and opt for their college choices. The NBA draft is June 24.
Livingston, a 6-7 guard from Peoria-Central, Ill., who signed with Duke, will enter the draft, according to the Peoria Journal Star. He is expected to be selected from four to five in the first round. Livingston helped lead Peoria to consecutive Class AA state championships and was named Illinois Mr. Basketball. He could become the first point guard to go directly from high school to the NBA. Duke freshman star Luol Deng has also entered the draft and is not hiring an agent.
A 6-6 guard/forward, Smith played for Newark-St. Benedict's Prep School, NJ., and signed with North Carolina. He is expected to be selected in the middle of the first round after averaging 23.3 points and 5.4 rebounds last year. He scored 30 points or more seven times as a senior and began to gather serious NBA consideration with his tournament play. He was named MVP or co-MVP of the Great Florida Shootout, the EA Sports Roundball Classic and the McDonald's All-American Game.
Jefferson, a forward-center from Prentiss, Miss., signed with Arkansas. He is considered a middle to late first round pick after averaging 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks during his senior season. Jefferson was named to the McDonald's, Parade and USA Today All-America teams. His 6-9 260 wide frame could be attractive to NBA scouts. He tied a state high school tournament record with 56 points in a Class 3A semifinal loss to Byhalia as a senior. Prentiss won the Class 3A title in 2003 during his junior year.
Guard Sebastian Telfair of Brooklyn-Abraham Lincoln, NY., who signed with Louisville, is expected to announce for the draft on May. 4.
Center Randolph Morris of Fairburn-Landmark Christian School, Ga., will make a decision between Georgia Tech, Kentucky or the draft on May 6. He is a probable late first to second round pick.
Another likely draft candidate, center Robert Swift of Bakersfield, Cal (USC Trojans), has not set an announcement date.
Eight preps have chosen to enter the draft, including Livingston; Smith; Jefferson; touted center/forward Dwight Howard of Atlanta-SW Atlanta Christian, Ga (Uncommitted; top first or second pick of the draft); forward Josh Smith of Mouth of Wilson-Oak Hill Academy, Va (Indiana; top eight to 10 in first round); center Jackie Butler of Virginia Beach-Coastal Christian, Va. (Tennessee; second round, if selected); forward Ivan Chiriaev of Oakville, Ontario-St. Thomas Aquinas (Pledged to Iowa State; six to 10th in first round); and forward/guard Dorell Wright of South Kent Prep, Conn (DePaul; late first to second round.
Should Preps Jump to NBA? The most heralded high school player in years, forward LeBron James of Akron/St. Vincent-St. Mary, Ohio, was chosen No. 1 in the first round by Cleveland. He averaged 20 points and was Rookie of the Year. The other three preps taken in the first round, all late picks, played a combined 86 minutes during the entire season: Forward Travis Outlaw of Starkville, Miss., 23rd pick by Portland; forward Ndudi Ebi of Houston-Westbury Christian, Tex., 26th pick by Minnesota; center Kendrick Perkins of Beaumont-Ozen, Tex., 27th pick by Memphis, then traded to Boston.
2004 NBA Draft
(May 10-Early Entry Deadline; June 17-Early Entry Withdrawal Deadline; June 24-NBA Draft)
C/F Dwight Howard 6-10 Atlanta-SW Atlanta Christian, Ga (Uncommitted). Draft: Top two in first round.
*Check Class 2004 lists for Prospects/Commitments/Signings/Schools and Conferences. Ninety-five prospects on the early Class 2004 Top 100 have made Commitmen ts or Signed. List of remaining Top 100 Prospects.
The 5/8 Rule
The NCAA Division I Board of Directors has voted to approve measures of academic reform that included a repeal of the controversial 5/8 rule limiting college basketball recruiting to no more than five recruits in a single class and no more than eight in any two-year period. With the rule rescinded, coaches can fill their 13-man rosters with the best eligible players who have yet to sign. NCAA Story
2004 McDonald's All American Game
J.R. Smith and Dwight Howard helped the East rout the West, 126-96, at the 27th McDonald's All American Basketball Boys Game in Oklahoma City, Okla. The John Wooden Award which is given to the most valuable player of the game was given to co-winners Smith and Howard. Smith led all scorers with 25 points, while Howard contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Story, Rosters.
McDonald's Games/All-Star Games/NBA Drafts
Search for Stories/games/rosters.
2004 Nike Hoop Summit
The 2004 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Select team defeated World Select, 99-79, in the Hoops Summit game in San Antonio. Josh Smith led all scorers with 27 points, J.R. Smith added 17, while Rudy Gay and Al Jefferson had 14 and 13. Sebastian Telfair scored six. Luka Bogdanovic led the World team with 20 points. Churchill Odia and Juan Diego Palacios each scored 10. Stories/games/rosters.
2004 Jordan Capital Classic
Dwight Howard scored 18 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks to lead the Black team to a 107-96 victory over the White squad in the Jordan Capital Classic and was named the outstanding player. Malik Hairston led the Black team with 23 points, while Robert Vaden added 21. Dorell Wright led the White team with 24 points, while Al Jefferson added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Stories/games/rosters
Class 2004 Basketball Database
*Search lists of Prospects/Commitments/Signings/Schools and Conferences
*Early list of Top 100 Prospects/Commitments a>/Signings/ Remaining Top 100 Prospects.
*More players projected to make an impact: Super Prospects.
*Top JC Prospects: Junior College List.
*Basketball Signing Periods: Early (Nov. 12-19) and Regular (Apr. 14-May 19).
*Indiana, Texas and Louisville lead the early 2004 Top Classes.
Class 2005 Basketball Database
*Search early lists of Prospects/Commitments
Class 2005: Database
Class 2004: Database/Top 100/Top Classes.
Class 2003: Database/Top 100/Top Classes.
Class 2002: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 2001: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 2000: Database/Top 100/Top Classes
Class 1999: Database
Class 1998: Database/ Top Classes
Bill Hodge is the executive editor and director of recruiting coverage at
CollegeSports.com. For daily columns on prospects, commitments and signings,
plus databases, go to CollegeSports.com's