Illini's Brown to enter draft

Saturday, May 7, 2005

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois junior Dee Brown, the Big Ten player of the year, will submit his name for the upcoming NBA draft but has not signed with an agent, the school announced Friday.

The decision to not hire an agent preserves Brown's ability to return to Illinois for his senior season.

Brown was not immediately available to comment. He planned to speak with reporters Friday afternoon, said assistant sports information director Derrick Burson.

"We certainly understand Dee and his family's desire to more closely explore his NBA options and gain a better understanding of where his position would be in the draft," Illinois head coach Bruce Weber said in a statement released Friday morning. "We will continue to educate Dee about his standing through feedback from his team workouts, and we hope that whatever decision he ultimately makes, that it's in his best interest for his long-term future."

Brown is a 6-1 guard who played high school ball at Proviso East in Maywood, Ill., a school that also produced Boston Celtics coach Glen "Doc" Rivers and Dallas Mavericks star Michael Finley. He averaged 13.3 points per game for the Illini in his junior season, led the team with 70 steals and was second on the team in assists with 177.

Brown's decision follows by two weeks the decision by classmate Deron Williams to hire an agent and leave Illinois for the NBA. Williams, the Illini point guard last season, is expected to be a first-round selection in the June 28 draft.

Because Brown has not signed with a professional manager, he can attend workouts with NBA teams while leaving open his option to drop out of the draft and return to school. He must make that decision by June 21.

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