Hoyas' Decisions Expected Today

Roy Hibbert
Roy Hibbert will come back to Georgetown next year according to a source with knowledge of the situation. (John McDonnell - The Washington Post)

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By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Georgetown juniors Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert will announce whether they will remain in the NBA draft at a news conference this afternoon, and according to a source with knowledge of the situation, Hibbert will be returning to the Hoyas for his senior season.

The return of the 7-foot-2 Hibbert is a boost for a program that is coming off its first Final Four appearance since 1985. He and Green helped lead the Hoyas to a sweep of the Big East regular season and tournament titles and a 30-7 overall record, the fourth 30-win season in school history.

When Hibbert and Green submitted their names for the draft in mid-April, both players left open the possibility of returning to Georgetown for a final season. Neither player hired an agent at the time, and both players said they were still enrolled in classes and were on track to graduate on time.

Underclassmen have until June 18 to withdraw from the draft, which will be held June 28 in New York. The draft lottery was held last night, with the Portland Trail Blazers winning the top pick.

Most mock drafts have projected Green and Hibbert as lottery picks, forecasting Green to go between the seventh and 14th picks, and Hibbert between the fifth and 10th picks.

Hibbert has steadily improved each season since coming to Georgetown from nearby Georgetown Prep and could vault his way to the top of the 2008 draft with another season of similar development in college. Green, on the other hand, is considered to be the more NBA-ready player, and his stock might be at its peak now after a superlative junior season.

The 6-9 Green led the Hoyas in scoring (14.3 points) and was second in rebounds (6.4) and assists (3.2). He was named the Big East player of the year, as well as the most outstanding player of the Big East tournament and the NCAA East Region. He made three game-winning shots, two of them in the postseason, but scored just nine points on five shot attempts in the Hoyas' national semifinal loss to Ohio State.

Hibbert was second on the team in scoring (12.9 points), led the Hoyas in rebounding (6.9) and blocked shots (2.4), and was a unanimous choice for first team all-Big East. He had a terrific NCAA tournament, averaging a double-double (14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds), and against the likely top pick in the draft, Ohio State freshman Greg Oden, Hibbert had 19 points and six rebounds.

Last month, Green said there was a 70 percent chance that he would return to the Hoyas.

"School is only going to be here four years," Green said. "The NBA will be there forever. You can't just give up that. That's a big thought in this process."

Hibbert put his odds of returning at 50-50, and said his projected draft position would be a factor in the decision. There is a glut of talented big men in this year's draft: Oden, Florida's Al Horford and Joakim Noah, China's Yi Jianlian and Washington's Spencer Hawes.

"Do I want to go eight through 14, or do I want to go top three next year?" Hibbert said in April.

"That does play a factor in my decision. . . . I wouldn't want to be at the end of a bench on an NBA team, not being able to develop and show what I can do, so another year here would be great, obviously.

"But I'm just going to see if Coach thinks I'm ready. I would love to come back and get a national championship banner in here. We were close this year, but next year could be great."

Georgetown's top nine players are eligible to return next season, and the Hoyas will add two of the top guard prospects in the country: Austin Freeman, the All-Met player of the year from DeMatha, and Chris Wright, a three-time All-Met from St. John's.

Should Green return as well, the Hoyas could open the season as the top-ranked team in the country.


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