April 22, 2002
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Uche Nsonwu-Amadi, Wyoming's outstanding junior center, announced Monday that he has decided to enter the NBA draft in June.
Nsonwu-Amadi, a 6-10 junior from Enugu, Nigeria, said he would not hire an agent, leaving open the possibility of returning to Wyoming for his senior season.
"I discussed the situation with Coach (Steve) McClain, and we felt it was something positive for me to do," Nsonwu-Amadi said. "I fully expect to be back at Wyoming for my senior season, but I feel like this will expose me to the NBA, and give me an opportunity to play against some of the country's outstanding post players. That will help me find out what I need to work on for next season."
Along with other collegiate players who are declaring for the draft, the Cowboy's leading rebounder could be invited to the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp, June 4-5-6-7. By NCAA rule, Nsonwu-Amadi may withdraw his name from draft consideration one week prior to the draft in late June.
"I know Uche thought a lot about this decision," said McClain. "He and I had a long visit about it. NCAA rules are such that he can see where he stacks up against the other great players in the country, and still retain his college eligibility. He wanted to test the waters and find out what he needs to work on for his senior year. This is now a big part of Division I basketball, and there's certainly nothing wrong with trying it. He is comfortable in this program, and neither he nor I are concerned about it in the sense that he wouldn't be back next year. I think it will be a positive experience leading him into next year."
Nsonwu-Amadi finished his junior season averaging 10.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Cowboys who won the Mountain West Conference championship, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They finished the season 22-9. He posted the best field-goal percentage of any regular on the team at .540. He finished the season with six double-doubles, and has produced 13 during his career.
The last Wyoming player picked in the NBA draft was center Theo Ratliff, who was drafted No. 18 overall in the 1992 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. He is currently a member of the Atlanta Hawks.