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Monday, April 24, 2006
Texas' Tucker to enter NBA draft

By Pat Forde
ESPN.com

Texas junior forward P.J. Tucker announced Monday that he is putting his name in the NBA draft but will not hire an agent.

"I'm keeping my options open," Tucker told ESPN.com. "I want to see what will happen from here."

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Tucker led the Longhorns in scoring (16.1 points per game) and rebounding (9.5). Despite that productivity and improving his overall versatility, the 6-foot-5 inside player is considered a tweener by NBA standards.

Tucker acknowledged that he's not yet guaranteed a spot in the league's pre-draft camp in Orlando from June 6-10. He knows he'll have to prove to NBA scouts before then that he has a perimeter game.

"I need to work on my long ball," he said. "I've got to be able to knock down NBA 3s, that's the biggest thing.

"[But] I bring it every day, play hard, make my teammates better. I'm getting better every day, improving my versatility," he said.

Tucker's teammate, 7-foot sophomore LaMarcus Aldridge, has already declared for the draft and is considered a prime lottery candidate.

Sophomore guard Daniel Gibson, according to The Associated Press, told a Houston television station on Monday night he is planning to tell the NBA on Tuesday that he will make himself available for the draft but not sign with an agent. Gibson had said at the Texas team banquet on April 10 that he planned to return to school.

If either or both interior players return to Austin, Texas will be considered a legitimate 2007 national title candidate. They'd be joined by 2005-06 reserves A.J. Abrams and Mike Williams and another strong Rick Barnes recruiting class, highlighted by McDonald's All-American Kevin Durant.

"I like school, like what we've got going here," Tucker said. "I just want to know where I stand."

In a statement released by the school, Barnes said his has "no problem" with Tucker's decision.

"This is a good rule put in place for players to explore their draft position," Barnes said.

Texas finished the 2005-06 season 30-7, losing in the Atlanta Region final to LSU.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.