Damion James of Texas Longhorns is taking name out of NBA draft - ESPN
Texas junior wing Damion James couldn't get a guarantee that he'd be a first-round pick in this month's NBA draft. So he did what most NBA personnel have advised: He decided to go back to school to improve his chances for the 2010 draft.
James informed Texas coach Rick Barnes late Friday night that he would be returning for his senior season, according to a Texas spokesperson.
Texas was expected to make the official announcement this weekend. James canceled a workout Saturday for New Jersey. The deadline to withdraw from the June 25 entry draft is 5 p.m. ET Monday.
James was invited to the NBA draft combine in Chicago, but wasn't convincing enough there, or in individual team workouts, to make him a first-round pick.
James will be the top returning scorer for the Longhorns, averaging 15.4 points a game last season behind outgoing senior guard A.J. Abrams (16.6 ppg). James' return should help Texas be a preseason top-10 pick and a favorite to nip at likely No. 1 Kansas in the race for the Big 12 title.
Texas returns guards Justin Mason, Varez Ward and Dogus Balbay to go along with James, and added the top position players in the ESPNU 100 in shooting guard Avery Bradley out of Findlay College Prep (Wa.) and small forward Jordan Hamilton out of Dominguez High (Calif.).
Small forward Shawn Williams (Duncanville High, Texas) and Florida transfer guard Jai Lucas are expected to make an impact as well. Lucas should compete for the starting point guard position.
Texas also returns its starting front line of Dexter Pittman and Gary Johnson, two players who Barnes repeatedly has said could compete for all-Big 12 honors, and he fully expects them to have a banner season.
Barnes, never to hide from pumping his team if deserved, has said Texas could be one of the better teams in the country. Getting James back to lead this crew certainly enhances his position.