Stoudamire denies rumors

If Wildcat fans have learned one thing it's that the offseason can be a crazy time for Lute Olson's basketball team. Last year the team had the Ndudi Ebi drama as well as the academic suspension of Chris Dunn. This year one of the big rumors is about the status of Salim Stoudamire. At least one local media outlet reported that Stoudamire had decided to leave school for the NBA, but he and at least one Wildcat coach deny the rumor.

At least one local radio station reported that Salim Stoudamire had decided to test the NBA draft waters. Cat Tracks had heard similar rumors earlier in the day but could not confirm or deny those until early Monday evening.

According to Wildcat assistant coach Josh Pastner the rumors were just that.

"The rumors about Salim are untrue," Pastner told Cat Tracks. "He was just in my office a little while ago."

Rodney Tention was less clear about the situation, neither confirming nor denying the rumors, but he did remark that rumors are bound to get out this time of year.

Several media outlets attempted to contact Lute Olson, but he would not comment on any personnel moves until after the semester was over.

Stoudamire himself has denied the rumors. Tucson Citizen writer Steve Rivera appeared on Monday night's Cat Tracks On The Air radio show and told Cat Tracks Editor John Schuster that he spoke with Stoudamire earlier in the evening and that the Wildcat guard denied the rumor. According to Rivera, Stoudamire was adamant, stating at least three times that he was not planning on turning pro.

The deadline for underclassmen to declare is May 10th.

A source close to the program indicated that Stoudamire told him several weeks ago that he was likely not returning for his senior season. Another source claimed that a current player told him that he was told by the coaching staff that Stoudamire would probably not be back, but that conversation took place nearly a month ago.

Neither of these reports could be verified. According to all accounts Stoudamire has been a model citizen after a rocky junior season where he was suspended for a game for his attitude. Stoudamire has participated in workouts and pick-up sessions and has met all his charitable obligations, including a fundraiser where he was to play golf with the winner of a silent auction.

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