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Iguodala jumps to NBA

SAUL LOEB/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona sophomore forward Andre Iguodala announced Friday that he plans to declare early for June's NBA draft, and that he would not be returning to the Wildcats for his junior season. Iguodala led the Wildcats in rebounds, steals and assists while finishing fourth in scoring during his second season in Tucson.
By Brett Fera
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, April 12, 2004
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Sophomore forward to declare for draft

UA men's basketball fans are used to watching forward Andre Iguodala jump out of the building.

Now he's leaping right out of Tucson, and into the professional ranks.

The sophomore forward announced Friday his intention to declare for the NBA draft and hire an agent, effectively ending his playing days with the Wildcats after just two seasons.

"I want to thank Coach Olson, the coaching staff, my teammates and the fans in Tucson for their support," Iguodala said in a statement released by the team.

"I feel the time is right for me to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in the NBA," he said.

Iguodala averaged 8.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.6 steals this season, to lead the team in all three categories. He finished fourth in scoring, with an average of 12.9 points per contest. Iguodala also finished his career with a UA-record three triple-doubles.

He is the first Wildcat to declare early for the NBA since sophomore Gilbert Arenas and juniors Michael Wright and Richard Jefferson left early after the Wildcats' loss to Duke in the 2001 NCAA Championship game.

UA associate head coach Jim Rosborough said he expects Iguodala to be a mid-to-late first-round pick at this year's NBA draft, to be held June 24 in New York.

"He's a surefire first-rounder, but it will depend on teams' needs," Rosborough said, adding that he thinks Iguodala will probably be a shooting guard at the next level. "Now it's going to boil down to his individual workouts and how he shoots the ball."

Iguodala shot 45 percent from the floor and 31.5 percent from 3-point range during his second season with the Wildcats. His outside shot is considered to be his game's greatest question mark heading into pre-draft workouts.

Rosborough said the Wildcats will most miss Iguodala's floor presence on a team that struggled at times to find an on-court leader.

"Andre's done a nice job for us. We would have been in a heap of trouble without him this year," Rosborough said. "We wish him well. Andre wants to make the move and goes with our blessing."

Rosborough added that while he's not a fan of the word "potential," he thinks Iguodala has the chance to grow into a dominant player at the next level.

"I don't even think he's scratched the surface of how good he could be," Rosborough said.

Despite losing Iguodala's contribution on the stat sheets, the Wildcats won't need to look too far for replacements in the team's regular rotation or at the small forward spot.

Rosborough said the roster change creates an open path for 6-foot-4 sophomore Hassan Adams to move to a more natural position of small forward during his junior season.

"I don't feel one lick bad about having Hassan (at the 3 spot) and ready to go," Rosborough said. "Hassan will be terrific there. He led us in scoring this year; he shot the 3-ball well. He's a great competitor."

Adams led the team with 17.2 points per game to go along with 7.3 rebounds per game. Adams, who came to the UA as a shooting guard out of Westchester High School near Los Angeles two years ago, spent most of the season at the power forward spot because an injury suffered in the season's second game sidelined junior Isaiah Fox.

Fox's return to the lineup next season should also help offset the loss of Iguodala, as will an incoming crop of freshmen. Freshman forward Mohammed Tangara and guards Jawann McClellan and Daniel Dillon signed with Arizona in November. Newly added recruit Jesus Verdejo should also provide depth for the Wildcats.

Cats add top Houston recruit for '05 season

The Wildcats added 6-foot-6, 220-pound forward Fendi Onobun of Houston to its early commitment list for the 2005-06 school year late last week.

Onobun is considered to be among the top players in his class from the Houston area, a major UA recruiting spot thanks to Wildcat assistant coach Josh Pastner's hometown ties to the city.

According to the Houston-based Recruiters Cheat Sheet, the top Houston-area recruit for four consecutive classes has signed with the Wildcats. Current NBA rookie Ndudi Ebi signed to play for the Wildcats this season before declaring for the NBA draft, while incoming guard Jawann McClellan (2004), Onobun (2005) and guard Nic Wise (2006) were all ranked atop Houston's list of prep players.

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