Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Draft 2009 [Print without images]

Monday, June 15, 2009
USC's Gibson to stay in NBA draft pool

By Pat Forde
ESPN.com

USC forward Taj Gibson confirmed to ESPN.com via Twitter Monday afternoon that he is keeping his name in the NBA draft and forgoing his remaining season of eligibility at USC.

Gibson joins a crowded exodus from USC, up to and including coach Tim Floyd.

Demar DeRozan already has turned pro and signed with an agent, and guard Daniel Hackett signed a contract to play professionally in Italy. Even Marcus Johnson, not a projected draft pick, threw his name in as well.

Several recruits also have de-committed from the Trojans, as storm clouds from an ongoing NCAA investigation build over the program.

The 6-foot-9 Gibson is projected by most draft analysts as a second-round pick. Gibson was the Trojans' No. 2 scorer at 14.3 points per game and leading rebounder at 9.0 for a team that won the Pacific-10 tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Agent Aaron Mintz said he had signed Gibson.

Mintz said Gibson felt he was going to be in a range he coveted (middle to late first round in the June 25 draft). Mintz said many people had wrongly presumed Gibson was in the draft because of his age but that he did consider going back to USC.

Pat Forde is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at ESPN4D@aol.com. Information from ESPN.com's Andy Katz was used in this report.