Dijon Thompson To Remain At UCLA And Complete Senior Season
June 16, 2004
UCLA's 6-7 guard/forward Dijon Thompson will remain at UCLA for his senior season (2004-05) and will not enter the upcoming NBA Draft, UCLA head coach Ben Howland and Thompson announced on Wednesday.On April 7, Thompson announced his intention to enter the Draft. However, he did not sign with an agent, leaving his option open to remain in school. Thompson did attend the Chicago Pre-Draft camp (June 8-11) and returned to UCLA for final exam week (June 14-18). The 2004 NBA Draft is June 24 and a player with collegiate eligibility, who has not signed with an agent, must withdraw from draft consideration by June 17.
'Our staff is very pleased that Dijon has decided to stay in school and complete his degree, which he can do at the end of the upcoming winter quarter,' Howland said. 'I think he's going to have a great senior year. His experience in Chicago was a positive one. He received a lot of positive feedback and played well. There were a number of teams excited about him and I think he will have a great shot at being a high draft pick at the conclusion of his senior season.
'I thought Dijon prepared well for his look at the NBA,' Howland said. 'He has made overall improvement since our season ended. He's been lifting consistently and has worked very hard at improving his game.'
Thompson is UCLA's leading scorer from last season (14.4) and leading returning rebounder (4.3, tied with junior-to-be Ryan Hollins). A 2004 Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 performer, Thompson last season led the Bruins in scoring on 12 occasions, including two of the last three games and scored in double figures 25 times (in 28 games). A starter in 27 of 28 games, Thompson was second on the team in minutes played (33.2) and assists (2.3). His free throws clinched Bruin wins at Washington State (1/8) and at Washington (1/10). In 2003-04, Thompson had a season-high 25 points at Oregon State (3/4), including a career-best 7 three-pointers at OSU, a season-high nine rebounds vs. Vermont (11/29) and a career-high tying six assists twice.
'Going to Chicago was a good experience for me,' Thompson said. 'By going to Chicago, I was able to get evaluated. That was the main purpose of the camp, to get evaluated. I was pleased with the things I heard and the way I performed.
'After attending the camp and going through all the drills and procedures, I've received nothing but positive feedback -from scouts, GMs (general managers) and teams. I was advised that one year back in school, to develop my body and touch-up on some skills, will put me in a better position next year to hopefully get into the first round.
'But that's not the only reason I'm staying,' said Thompson, a history major. 'UCLA means a lot to me and so does getting my degree. I'm looking forward to playing with the incoming freshmen and joining my returning teammates.'