Azubuike signs with agent - will not return to UK

Kelenna Azubuike

Azubuike said, "I have submitted my name into the 2005 NBA Draft and I have signed with an agent. I know all the implications of signing with an agent. I believe I am ready and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get better before the draft. I want to make it clear that this is my decision but my family is solidly behind me. I want to thank Coach Smith for the opportunity and everything he has done for me over my career at UK. I have truly enjoyed this experience."

Kelenna Azubuike has signed with an agent, making him ineligible to return to Kentucky for his senior season, WLEX-18 in Lexington reports.

Azubuike, a 6-5 guard/forward, earned second team All-Southeastern Conference honors by both The Associated Press and the league's coaches this season. He also was named to the SEC All-Tournament team after averaging 18 points in three games. Azubuike led the team in scoring this season, averaging 14.7 points and added 4.7 rebounds, which ranked second on the squad.

"I have submitted my name into the 2005 NBA Draft and I have signed with an agent," Azubuike said. "I know all the implications of signing with an agent. I believe I am ready and I am willing to do whatever it takes to get better before the draft. I want to make it clear that this is my decision but my family is solidly behind me.

"I want to thank Coach Smith for the opportunity and everything he has done for me over my career at UK. I have truly enjoyed this experience."

Azubuike accumulated an 87-15 record during his three years at Kentucky, capturing two Southeastern Conference titles and two SEC Tournament titles. He's helped Kentucky to two NCAA Elite Eight appearances, including this season.

"Kelenna has been a model student-athlete and will be sorely missed," Coach Tubby Smith said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do since he's been at UK and we'll do everything we can to help him achieve his goals and dreams." The NBA Draft is set for June 28. Azubuike is the first underclassman at Kentucky to declare early for the draft since Keith Bogans and Tayshaun Prince tested the waters in the spring of 2001. Both eventually withdrew from the draft, completed their eligibility at UK and were drafted following their senior seasons.

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