Wednesday , Mar , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Missouri’s Gardner declares for NBA Draft

Columbia, MO (Sports Network) – University of Missouri junior guard Thomas
Gardner announced Wednesday that he will enter the upcoming NBA Draft.

Gardner will not sign with an agent, giving him the option to return for his
senior season.

“One advantage to the timing is the rules that are in place,” said Gardner. “I
have the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s best players in
NBA Draft camps and show that I can help an NBA franchise without sacrificing
my collegiate eligibility. I do not plan on signing with an agent and will
take the necessary academic steps to protect my eligibility.”

Gardner was the second-leading scorer in the Big 12 Conference at 19.7 points
per game this past season and was a third-team All-Big 12 selection.

“We are very supportive of Thomas and his decision to pursue his dreams of
playing basketball in the NBA,” said Missouri head coach Melvin Watkins. “This
is the lay of the landscape in college basketball and this is becoming the
norm. The rules are in place to help these young men pursue their dreams of
playing professionally without sacrificing their collegiate future. We had
discussed this option with Thomas throughout the season and it’s something we
had discussed before our current coaching situation.”

Watkins took over the Missouri post for Quin Snyder, who resigned in mid-

The 2006 NBA Draft will be held June 27 in New York’s Madison Square Garden,
and underclassmen have until June 17 to withdraw from consideration.