Monday , Apr , 10 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Longhorns’ Aldridge to bolt for NBA

Austin, TX (Sports Network) – Texas star forward LaMarcus Aldridge will
reportedly forego his final two years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft.

The Dallas Morning News reports that multiple sources have stated Aldridge has
told teammates and the coaching staff he is headed for the NBA, leaving head
coach Rick Barnes with a huge void to fill in the frontcourt.

Some scouts and NBA player personnel directors have hinted that the wiry 6-
foot-10 forward is a top-three pick in the upcoming draft despite his
lackluster performance in the club’s final game of the season, a 70-60
overtime defeat to LSU in the Atlanta regional final.

Aldridge struggled on the offensive end — finishing with only four points on
2-of-14 shooting — and appeared overwhelmed by the strength of LSU’s Glen
Davis and athleticism of frontcourt mate Tyrus Thomas. The Tigers’ duo
combined for 47 points and 22 rebounds, leaving many to wonder if Aldridge is
physical enough for the pro game.

The newspaper reports, however, that scouts have indicated that a solid
offensive skill set, a desire to block shots and a strong court sense will
make Aldridge one of the first players selected.

Barnes must now wait to see if Aldridge is the first domino to fall, with
sophomore guard Daniel Gibson and Big 12 Player of the Year P.J. Tucker also
considering entering their names in the draft without agents, according to the
newspaper.

By not hiring agents, each player can gauge their draft status through
individual workouts before deciding whether to stay in the draft or return to
school. In order to remain eligible, an early entrant must withdraw by June
18, 10 days prior to the June 28th draft.

It turns out Sunday was not a complete loss for Barnes, as the newspaper
reported that the head coach will see his annual base salary increase from
$1.3 million to $1.8 million with a $125,000 bonus for reaching the NCAA
Tournament.

Barnes guided the Longhorns to a school-record 30 wins and a share of the Big
12 regular-season title in 2005-06. The head coach has reached the Sweet 16 in
four of the last five seasons and took Texas to the Final Four in 2003.

TEXAS