Bass headed for the NBA Draft

LSU forward Brandon Bass, the 2005 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year, announced late Friday afternoon that he would enter the 2005 National Basketball Association draft, scheduled for June.

Bass cannot pull his name out of the draft on this occasion to return to LSU as underclassmen are only allowed to enter the draft without signing with an agent and return to school one time, a process Bass went through after his 2004 freshman season.

Bass was also an honorable mention choice for All-America by Associated Press after averaging 17.3 points per game and 9.1 rebounds a contest. He was third in the SEC in scoring, second in rebounding, first in field goal percentage (56.7 percent) and fourth in blocked shot percentage (1.8 bpg).

"I appreciate everything Coach (John) Brady, his staff and LSU has allowed me to accomplish," Bass said. "I have improved tremendously over the past two years and have enjoyed my time at LSU. But after carefully seeking out and gathering all the information I can, I feel this is the right time to pursue my dream to play in the NBA."

The Tigers were 20-10 overall, 13-5 in the league and the champions of the Southeastern Conference Western Division.

"In this whole process I have always supported Brandon in whatever decision he would make and I support him now," said Brady. "He has taken the necessary steps to make this important decision. I am confident he will be successful in this next step in his career and I truly appreciate all he has done for our basketball program at LSU. He is a tremendous young man and I have enjoyed having the opportunity to have coached him."

Bass was also the Louisiana Player of the Year as chosen by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. He excelled in the classroom and besides his choice as the league's scholar-athlete, he was a member of the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll in 2004 and in 2005 was named the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District team, presented by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Bass became the first LSU player to win the league player of the year honors since the four-year run of Chris Jackson (1989, 1990) and Shaquille O'Neal (1991, 1992). He became the first player from LSU to lead the league in field goal percentage since Stromile Swift in 2000. Bass had 19 double doubles in his two-year LSU career, including a 16-point, 13-rebound performance against Kentucky in March in the SEC Tournament. In that game he made an 18-footer at the buzzer to force overtime, sealing his spot on the 2005 SEC All-Tournament team.

The 6-8, 252-pounder from Capitol High in Baton Rouge finished his LSU career with 890 points in 59 games (all starts), 15.1 points per game average. He averaged 8.2 rebounds over the two years and ranks third all-time in blocks with a total of 104.

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