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UGA hoops star Leslie opts for NBA Draft

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia guard Travis Leslie said Tuesday he will remain in the NBA draft, the second top player to give up his senior season with the Bulldogs.

Leslie said last week he would enter his name in the draft without hiring an agent, study his options and then make a final decision.

Coming off just their second appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2002, the Bulldogs face a major rebuilding job with their two best players entering the draft. Trey Thompkins said last week he would hire an agent, ending any chance of returning to the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-4 Leslie averaged 14.4 points and 7.2 rebounds as a junior, second to Thompkins in both categories, and was known for his acrobatic moves and high-flying dunks.

"After talking it over with my family, I have decided that I will forgo my senior year and enter into the NBA draft," Leslie said in a statement. "I would like to thank UGA for giving me the opportunity, as well as coach Fox and the staff in helping me to improve my game. Last but not least, I'd like to thank the Georgia fans for their support over the past three years."

Leslie showed steady progress after averaging 6.3 points as a freshman. He was one of the most improved players in the Southeastern Conference as a sophomore, boosting his average to 14.8 points, and briefly considered entering the draft a year ago.

He's a bit undersized for a shooting guard and still working on his perimeter game, but his athleticism has some projecting him to be a late first-round or early second-round pick.

"It was my pleasure to coach Travis," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "It has been a real joy to see him develop as a player the past couple of seasons. He has made a decision to pursue his dream and we wish him nothing but the best."

The NBA draft is June 23. This will be the first time that Georgia has two underclassmen among the pool of players.