Rhodes To Test Pro Waters

Mississippi State's hopes for another championship sort of basketball season are, literally, built around the talents of All-SEC postman Charles Rhodes. But for the next few weeks that centerpiece to Bulldog plans will be considering the possibility of playing at a higher level of the game in 2007-08.

Contacted by phone Friday afternoon, Rhodes told Dawgs' Bite that he has declared for early entry into the National Basketball Association draft. "But it's not a bold move," said Rhodes. "I'm just testing the waters."

College underclassmen had until next weekend to declare for the June NBA draft. They also can withdraw from such consideration a couple of weeks prior to the draft, and Rhodes said he will be careful to protect his college eligibility for a senior season by not hiring an agent or representative.

In fact, Rhodes is more concerned at the moment with completing the spring semester at Mississippi State. "I've got a couple more weeks of class here, and final exams. I'm going to go to class and take care of my work."

But at the same time after a stellar junior season for the SEC Western Division champs, Rhodes is ready to get a better gauge on where he stands in the eyes of professional scouts. The best way for him to do this is to declare, thus drawing more serious scrutiny from the experts. Then Rhodes can decide whether to step over the point of no (collegiate) return, or to play as a senior at Mississippi State.

"But I can't listen to what a lot of people are saying about whether I should stay or go pro," Rhodes said. "I know my own ability, now I want hear what the pros have to say."

Rhodes said he has told Coach Rick Stansbury of his plans, as well as teammates. "Coach told me the dos and the don'ts, what to watch out for," Rhodes said.

Contacted by media, Stansbury said "It will be good for charles to go through the process to know where he stands."

And while other Bulldogs have encouraged him to do what is best for himself, they also remind Rhodes of what State could be capable of next year.

"And I know we could be real good," agreed Rhodes. "So I'm just going to test the waters, go and have fun."

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