Donta Smith has declared for the NBA Draft

Donta Smith has entered the NBA Draft, according to Southeastern C.C. coach Todd Franklin. <p> <b>UPDATED</b> Rick Pitino's comments

6'7 Donta Smith, the No. 1 rated junior college prospect in the nation, entered his name into the NBA Draft earlier this week.

"He's put his name in the draft," Franlin said. "He told Vince Taylor earlier today of his decision. He's serious about going pro."

Smith, who averaged 26 points per game, will attend the pre-draft camp in Chicago later this month and several NBA have expressed interest in recent weeks, though Franklin declined to name which ones.

"We've had a lot of NBA types in here all season," Franklin said. "And some have expressed serious interest in the past couple of weeks."

"He's a grown man and he's made his decision to pursue this," Franklin continued. "He's going to try and get this done."

University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said he was surprised by Smith's decision and voiced displeasure to Tony Cruise Thursday night on 84 WHAS' Sports Talk about the handling of the situation. Pitino was particularly upset by Franklin's handling of the situation, who said he learned of Smith's decision Tuesday morning but didn't bother to inform U of L coaches.

Pitino also noted that assistant Vince Taylor had been to Harrisburg twice in the last ten day, yet Louisville didn't learn of Smith's decision until various media outlets called the basketball office to ask what was going on Thursday afternoon. "Needless to say, we won't have any future dealings with that junior college," Pitino said to Cruise.

Serious questions remain about Smith's readiness for the NBA, and he'll have to have big showings in draft camp's to move onto the first-round radar screen.

"We've called the NBA office," Pitino said. "And he's not even on the radar screen. Right now he's not a first round draft choice."

Franklin said Smith is still attending classes and will finish up this week with finals.

A press conference was scheduled for 3:00 PM Friday to announce Smith's decision but may not occur since the word is already out.

As for Louisville, who received a committment from Tello Palacios on Tuesday, they remain in pursuit of 6'6 point guard Churchill Odia, and 6'10 Kansas transfer David Padgett.

"We just have to focus on opening other doors and being persistently ferocious," Pitino said. "A lot of doors are opening up for us right now and we're excited about the possibilities."


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