North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano said yesterday he has changed his mind and may let star freshman Chris Washburn return to the team this season despite a burglary charge against him.

"When you look at it, anything is possible," Valvano said. "As long as things remain the same, I will feel the same way I did Friday and my decision (not to bring Washburn back this season) will remain the same. But if circumstances change, and change drastically, I might add, I may rethink it."

The 6-foot-11 Washburn, the 17th-ranked Wolfpack's third leading scorer with an average of 10.7 points, is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 8 for a hearing on a second-degree burglary charge, a felony offense that carries a minimum sentence of 14 years in prison.

"I still feel it was a solid, valid, sound decision and it would take an incredible turn of events to change it," Valvano said. "But one should never say never."

Valvano said he does not think he is "backtracking in any fashion" from Friday's decision to kick Washburn off the team for the rest of the season.

"I am not judge and jury, and my position has to be that I will let the legal process take precedence and go from there," Valvano said . . .

Albert (Truck) Butts, one of the nation's top rebounders, said he does not plan to leave La Salle for a smaller school even though an NCAA Division I rule will keep him benched during his senior year. The 6-9 center, ineligible because of a rule preventing players from participating in more than four years of a collegiate sport past their 20th birthday, said he plans to continue his studies at La Salle . . .

Sam Boghosian, Los Angeles Raiders assistant coach, is still in the running to become Oregon State's football coach, even though he asked to be removed from consideration three weeks ago, OSU athletic officials say. "I don't think he's out of the hunt," said OSU Athletic Director Dee Andros.