Three-time all-America Wayman Tisdale has decided to bypass his senior year of eligibility at Oklahoma and make himself available in the June 18 National Basketball Association draft.

Tisdale made the announcement yesterday at a packed news conference at the university in Norman. Midnight was the deadline for declaring.

The 6-foot-9 athlete, three times also the Big Eight player of the year, might have been the No. 1 choice in the pro draft had he waited until 1986; now, he almost certainly will play second fiddle to Georgetown's Patrick Ewing.

Still, Tisdale said, after "long, careful, prayerful consideration, I'm making myself available in the NBA draft. However, I intend to complete my education at the University of Oklahoma."

He thanked Coach Billy Tubbs, calling him a "a primary factor in my development . . . his guidance and inspiration helped me to obtain the highest goals that an individual could ever do."

Flanked by his father and two brothers, and Tubbs, Tisdale also thanked teammates, university, fans and the state of Oklahoma. "Words cannot express my love for you all," he said.

Tisdale, a member of the 1984 gold-medal U.S. Olympic team, holds the Big Eight career record, 2,661 points. He needed 1,007 more to surpass LSU's Pete Maravich as all-time collegiate scorer. Tisdale had a career average of 25.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per game . . .

Creighton's Benoit Benjamin also is turning pro a year early, he declared in Omaha.

The 7-foot center said his decision was influenced by Wednesday's resignation of Creighton Coach Willis Reed, the former New York Knick who led the Bluejays for four seasons and recruited him out of Louisiana.

Benjamin said he might have stayed to learn more from Reed. But with the upcoming change in coaches, he said he might not "fit into the system." Academically, he said, "I'm doing good on my books . . . I will leave Creighton with all Cs and I will come back to get my degree." . . .

Christoph Weisheit, a 7-foot-1 exchange student from Cologne, West Germany, has signed to play basketball at the University of Maryland. Weisheit, who averaged 20.1 points and 7.5 rebounds as a senior at Effingham (Ill.) High -- the school that Indiana's Uwe Blab attended -- is the seventh recruit the Terrapins have signed this year.

Marco Baldi, a 6-10, 240-pound, exchange student from Italy who attends Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran High, visited College Park on Friday and is considering accepting Maryland's one remaining scholarship.