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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Recruit declares for draft

Josh Smith chooses NBA over college ball

Former IU basketball recruit Josh Smith announced Tuesday he would skip college and enter the 2004 NBA draft. \n"After discussions with my family and coaches, I believe that entering the NBA draft is the best decision for me and my family," Smith said in a statement to The Associated Press.\nHe is predicted to be a top-10 draft pick, according to the AP.\nLeading Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., to a 38-0 record, Smith averaged 23 points, eight rebounds, seven steals, seven assists and five blocks per game.\nWhen Smith signed a national letter of intent in November to play at IU next year, IU coach Mike Davis said he wasn't worried the 6-foot-8 senior would skip college and go directly to the NBA. \nWhile Smith might be exactly what the IU basketball team needs next year to complete one of the top-recruiting classes in the nation, Davis said he still supports Smith, his family and the decision he made. \nDavis said he has enjoyed getting to know Smith and his family during the last few years, and that Smith will always be a part of the IU Basketball family, though he will not play here.\n"We wish him nothing but the best," Davis said. "Josh is a special talent with a long and successful future in front of him."\nSmith already violated NCAA freshman eligibility rules by playing in three all-star games. After the EA Sports Roundball Classic in Chicago and EA Sports/Adidas All-American game in Knoxville, Tenn., Smith participated in the McDonald's All-Star Game March 31.\nNCAA rules do not allow players to compete in more than two all-star games after their final high school season. \nCoach Wallace Prather, Jr. coached Smith last summer when he played for the Atlanta Celtics AAU team. He said Smith going pro was a debatable issue, but the decision was based on his career, and he will do fine.\n"It would have been a great opportunity to attend IU," Prather, Jr. said. "Just like it's a great opportunity to be a lottery pick in the NBA ... Best thing the kid can do is work hard, like he has done in the past." \n-- Contact staff writer Natalie A. Trout at natrout@indiana.edu.

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