Friday , Apr , 08 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Louisville’s Garcia declares for NBA Draft

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Sports Network) – Francisco Garcia, star of
Louisville’s Final Four basketball team, has decided to enter the NBA Draft,
according to various reports in his native Dominican Republic.

Garcia, who will forgo his senior season, led Louisville to a 33-5 record,
including the Conference-USA regular season and tournament titles, before
guiding the Cardinals to their first appearance in the Final Four of the NCAA
Tournament since 1986.

The 6-foot-7, 23-year-old forward led Louisville in several offensive and
defensive categories, including minutes played (31.9 per game), scoring
average (15.7 points), assists (148), blocked shots (56) and steals (65). He
also grabbed 4.2 rebounds per game and shot 88 percent from the free throw

Garcia will likely be a first-round selection and could be chosen with one of
the lottery picks if his stock improves at pre-draft camps.

“I think that I could be chosen like number 18,” Garcia was quoted as saying
on the Dominican web site El Caribe.

Garcia was named a first-team All-Conference USA selection and to the John R.
Wooden All-America Team, which recognizes the nation’s top-10 collegiate

Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said earlier this week that he thought
Garcia should enter the draft.

“I want him to go pro,” Pitino said. “I do not want him coming back. Fans will
say, ‘Is he (Pitino) crazy?’ Probably. It’s a dream of his. The young man
wants to go. He’s ready for it. He helped us get to a Final Four. He’s 23
years of age and he wants it. The timing’s right for him to leave.”

As for his professional future, Garcia has been compared to Detroit Piston
Tayshaun Prince, who is also a long, lean forward that creates matchup
problems and can impact a game at both ends of the court. Prince was selected
with the 23rd overall pick of the 2002 NBA Draft after a stellar career at