DeAndre Liggins to stay in NBA Draft, leave Kentucky basketball

Cal says he supports decision

ccosby@herald-leader.comMay 9, 2011 

Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins will remain in the NBA Draft.

Liggins announced Sunday he will turn pro rather than return for his senior season after talking to NBA scouts during a weekend camp hosted by the New Jersey Nets.

"Coach (John Calipari) encouraged me to come back for my senior season, but based on the feedback I got from NBA personnel, I felt it was in the best interests of me and family to stay in the draft," the 6-foot-6 Liggins said. "I learned a lot in my three years here at Kentucky, and I appreciate all the support I got from the people at UK as well as the Big Blue Nation."

Liggins' length and aggressiveness helped him become one of the top defenders in the country during his three years at Kentucky. He averaged 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds last season while helping the Wildcats reach their first Final Four in 13 years. He led the Wildcats in steals with 46.

Underclassmen had until midnight Sunday to take their name out of the draft pool.

Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight also is staying in the draft while forward Terrence Jones announced Saturday he will come back for his sophomore season.

Liggins, unlike his more heralded teammates, isn't considered a first-round pick but Calipari encouraged Liggins to explore his options.

"I feel comfortable that DeAndre had all the info that he needed to make this decision," Calipari said. "I fully support what he's doing, and I will do everything I can to help him reach his dreams."

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