Leon Powe Makes Himself Available for NBA Draft

April 19, 2006

BERKELEY - University of California forward Leon Powe has decided to make himself available for the 2006 NBA Draft, but does not plan to sign with an agent, leaving him the option of returning to the Golden Bear program for his junior season.

'I'd like to thank God, first of all,' Powe said. 'I don't make any decisions without him. And I know my mom is looking down on me knowing that I'll make the right decision.

'My family and I thought this was the best decision right now, to make myself eligible for the draft without hiring an agent,' added Powe, who is majoring in social welfare. 'I want to leave all of my options open. I plan on finishing school, too, so whatever happens, I'm going to finish my degree. That's what my mom would have wanted.

'I would like to thank the coaches for putting me in position to be successful. Coach (Ben) Braun, especially, gave me his support on my decision. He has said he's behind me no matter what.'

Selected a second-team Associated Press All-American during the just-completed campaign, Powe averaged a Pac-10-leading 20.5 ppg and 10.1 rpg. The two-time All-Pac-10 performer was also voted Most Outstanding Player of the '06 conference tournament after pulling down a tournament-record 20 rebounds in the quarterfinals vs. USC and scoring a tourney-record 41 points in the semifinals against Oregon.

Powe helped Cal to a 20-11 overall record in 2005-06, a third-place finish in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Last week, the 6-8, 240-pound Powe was named Cal's MVP for the second time after also receiving the award in 2004 when he was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year.

During his rookie campaign in 2003-04, Powe averaged 15.1 ppg and 9.5 rpg, becoming the first freshman in the history of the league to lead the Pac-10 in rebounding. He redshirted in 2004-05 after undergoing a pair of surgeries to his left knee.

For his career, Powe's average of 17.8 ppg is sixth-best ever at Cal and his rebound rate of 9.8 rpg is fourth highest in school history.

'Leon and I have talked a lot about his future and his options,' Braun said. 'He knows he has my full support. I'm proud that he has put himself in a great position both athletically and academically. He just had the best season of his basketball career, which is a credit to his work ethic and perseverance. At the same time, he's within 29 units of earning his Cal degree. I trust that Leon will ultimately make a great decision.'

Powe has until June 18 to withdraw his name from the draft-eligible list. In order to return for his junior season in 2006-07, he cannot sign with an agent and must maintain good academic standing with the university. The NBA Draft is June 28.

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