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UCLA's Thompson to declare for NBA draft


LOS ANGELES (AP) _ UCLA's Dijon Thompson will declare himself eligible for the NBA draft but leave open the possibility of returning for his senior season.

``I owe it to myself and my senior season to see where I stand,'' he said Wednesday. ``I'm trying to better myself for next season.''

Like Stanford's Josh Childress, who has declared for the June 24 draft, Thompson won't hire an agent, leaving him the option of returning to school.

``He's anxious to get his name out there,'' coach Ben Howland said.

Thompson led UCLA with 14.4 points a game last season. The Bruins finished 11-17, completing consecutive losing seasons for the first time in 62 years.

The 6-foot-7 guard-forward was forced to play most of the season at shooting guard because of injuries. However, his natural position is small forward.

Thompson must send the NBA a letter expressing his draft interest by May 10. He plans to attend a pre-draft camp in Chicago on June 8-11.

``It's to get feedback from the NBA on what I need to work on to better myself as a player,'' he said. ``If they say I'm not ready, it's a no-brainer. I'll come back and keep preparing myself.''

Thompson also is awaiting results from a survey of NBA general managers and scouts on his abilities.

If he doesn't like what he hears about his draft potential, he has until June 17 to withdraw his name from consideration.

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