"After much thought, I've decided to enter the draft," Pruitt said. "I feel I've established myself as one of the top big men in the Big Ten and I want to evaluate my ability to compete at the next level. Over the past three years I've learned a lot from the Illinois coaches, and my teammates have also helped make me a better player. I've also worked very hard to improve my skills, strength, stamina and overall game. I thank my family, the athletic department and all the fans of the Illini basketball program for the support I've received throughout my career. Completing my degree from the University of Illinois is very important to me. Being just a few credits shy of graduating, I will continue to pursue academic interests this spring and summer while also going through intense workouts. I am aware of the NCAA rules regarding the draft. I have not hired an agent, and with the help of my father, I will communicate with NBA teams and arrange workouts."
A 6-10 center from Aurora, Ill., Pruitt earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2006-07. The only Illini player to start every game each of the last two years, Pruitt ranked second on the team in scoring (11.4 ppg) and led the team in rebounding (7.5 rpg) this past season. His rebounding totals ranked third in the Big Ten, while he was fourth in the conference in field goal shooting at 54.9 percent (161-293). Pruitt ranked second among Big Ten players with nine double-doubles on the season. He scored in double figures 22 times, and was Illinois' leading scorer eight times and leading rebounder 16 times during the year.
"We are behind Shaun and will continue to support him as he pursues this opportunity," head coach Bruce Weber said. "This is a chance for Shaun to prove himself this spring, as well as continue to improve his game by undergoing a rigorous workout schedule. If he does return to our program next season, he will be a better player by having gone through this process."
Official Illinois press release