Thompson to Return to UCLA

<b>Dijon Thompson</b>, the UCLA junior small forward, has opted to take his name out of the NBA Draft and return to UCLA for his senior year...

Dijon Thompson, UCLA's 6-7 junior small forward, has decided to remain at UCLA for his senior season.

Thompson announced on April 7th that he would put his name into the NBA draft. He didn't, however, sign with an agent, which allowed him the option to return to UCLA for his senior year.

The 2004 NBA Draft is June 24th. Any college player who didn't sign with an agent had to withdraw his name from the draft to retain his eligibility by tomorrow, June 17th.

Thompson attended the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp last week. General feedback from NBA scouts were that Thompson should take his name out of the draft and return to UCLA for his senior year.

"Our staff is very pleased that Dijon has decided to stay in school and complete his degree, which he can do at the end of the upcoming winter quarter," Head Coach Ben Howland Howland said. "I think he's going to have a great senior year. His experience in Chicago was a positive one. He received a lot of positive feedback and played well. There were a number of teams excited about him and I think he will have a great shot at being a high draft pick at the conclusion of his senior season."

Howland had more praise for Thompson: "I thought Dijon prepared well for his look at the NBA. He has made overall improvement since our season ended. He's been lifting consistently and has worked very hard at improving his game."

Thompson, who is UCLA's returning leading scorer (14.4), said he appreciated the experience: "Going to Chicago was a good experience for me. By going to Chicago, I was able to get evaluated. That was the main purpose of the camp, to get evaluated. I was pleased with the things I heard and the way I performed. After attending the camp and going through all the drills and procedures, I've received nothing but positive feedback — from scouts, GMs (general managers) and teams. I was advised that one year back in school, to develop my body and touch-up on some skills, will put me in a better position next year to hopefully get into the first round. But that's not the only reason I'm staying. UCLA means a lot to me and so does getting my degree. I'm looking forward to playing with the incoming freshmen and joining my returning teammates."

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