Sunday , Jun , 18 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pitt’s Gray headed back to school

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) – University of Pittsburgh junior center Aaron
Gray announced on Sunday that he will return to school for his senior season
and withdraw from the NBA Draft.

Gray was allowed the option to withdraw his name from the draft since he did
not sign with an agent.

The NBA Draft early entry withdrawal deadline was Sunday afternoon.

“I am extremely excited that Aaron will be returning to the court for us next
year, but I am even more excited that he will be representing the University
of Pittsburgh,” Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said. “He embodies everything you
want a student-athlete to stand for. While his progress has been substantial
over the last three years, I believe his improvement in the coming season will
be even more dramatic. From the information we gathered from NBA people, the
consensus was that Aaron would have been a first-round pick in this year’s
draft or next year’s draft. Either way, he will have a long NBA career. Along
with his parents, Mike and Sandy, Aaron has always made decisions for the
right reasons and this is just another example.”

Gray became the fourth player in school history to receive the Big East’s Most
Improved Player Award last season. He earned All-Big East first team honors
this past season, making him the sixth Panther to do so.

The Emmaus, PA native led the conference in both rebounding (10.5) and
double-doubles (18) and was the only player in the Big East to average a
double-double (13.9 ppg/10.5 rpg) for the 2005-06 season. He shot 52.6
percent from the floor and led the team with 49 blocked shots.

“In discussing my options the last couple of weeks with my family and coach
Dixon, I feel that it is in my best interest to return to Pitt for my senior
season,” Gray said. “My options were to play my senior year and graduate from
the University of Pittsburgh or play in the NBA. This decision will allow me
to achieve both goals. I’m looking forward to continuing the success that
we’ve established at Pitt and finishing my career with fellow seniors Levon
Kendall, Antonio Graves and Doyle Hudson.”