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As expected, Hawkinson, Clifford, Iroegbu to return to WSU

AS EXPECTED, Washington State seniors Conor Clifford, Josh Hawkinson and Ike Iroegbu have withdrawn their names from the NBA Draft and will return for their senior seasons, the school announced in a release Tuesday.

A rules change this year allowed underclassmen who had not hired an agent extended time to change his mind and opt instead to return to school. The trio declared for the draft in early April, but didn’t hire agents. The NBA Draft Combine ran May 11-15, and players who did not hire agents have 10 days following the combine’s conclusion to make a final decision to return to school or remain in the draft.

“I’m happy that Josh, Ike and Conor all had the opportunity to explore the NBA and the draft process,” Ernie Kent said in the statement. “I think it’s going to not only give them, but also their teammate, Charles Callison, an excellent feel for what they need to do during the off-season and this upcoming basketball season, that’ll put them in the best position to play at the next level.”

Hawkinson, a 6-foot-10 forward, led the Cougs in scoring (15.4 ppg) and rebounding (11.1 rpg) this past season and was named Pac-12 honorable mention.  He also led the Pac-12 and ranked 11th in the nation in rebounds per game. His 20 double-doubles led the conference. At his current pace, he would finish with a school-record 1,037 rebounds.

Iroegbu was the only Cougar to start all 31 games in 2015-16 and has started 61 of WSU’s 62 games over the last two seasons. The 6-foot-2 guard led WSU with 3.6 assists per game and had five 20-plus point scoring efforts. Iroegbu is tied for 13th in WSU’s career record books for assists with 263 and is on pace to finish his Cougar career in the top 10.

In his first season at WSU, Clifford averaged 6.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, while shooting at a .640 clip (89-for-139). Clifford’s field goal percentage ranks second all-time in WSU’s single-season record books. The 7-foot center also shot .825 (33-for-40) from the free throw line.

WSU returns seven letterwinners and three starters from last season’s team, including four of its top five scorers from 2015-16. The Cougs will back 67 percent of its scoring and 68 percent of its assists.

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