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Delonte West Decides to Remain in NBA Draft
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  09/01/2004
PHILADELPHIA (6/17/04) - Saint Joseph's junior guard Delonte West will remain in the 2004 NBA Draft and will not return to the university for his final year of eligbility. West had until 5 p.m. today to withdraw after applying for early entry into the Draft last month.

"I would like to thank my family, Coach Martelli, the coaching staff, my teammates, the faculty and all of the Hawk alumni and fans for their support during my career and throughout this process. I have had an incredible college experience and have felt at home from the first day on Hawk Hill," said West. "I feel, however, that it is time for me to move on to the next stage of my career."

West combined with 2004 National Player of the Year Jameer Nelson to give the Hawks arguably the best backcourt in the nation. The shooting guard averaged 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists while helping SJU to the best season in school history with a 30-2 record, an unbeaten regular season, a number-one national ranking, a first-ever number-one NCAA Tournament seed and a run to the NCAA Elite Eight.

"Delonte had been provided with more than enough information to make an informed and educated decision. Part of the decision-making process should always be to follow one's heart and pursue a life-long goal. My responsibility as the head basketball coach for all of my players is to create an environment where they can prepare for life's challenges, whether in basketball or in their chosen profession. Delonte has been prepared well," said Hawk coach Phil Martelli. "I look forward to observing his pursuit of this dream. As with everyone who plays here at Saint Joseph's, he will always remain a member of the Hawk family."

The native of Greenbelt, Md. was a 2004 Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American, a first team All-American by Basketball Times and an All-Atlantic 10 first team selection. He tallied double figures in all but one game this year and had a "perfect" game against Xavier (Jan. 17) when he shot 12-for-12 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 6-for-6 from the foul line en route to a career-high 33 points. West ranked among the national leaders and set a school record by shooting 89.2 percent from the line. He also converted an impressive 51.0 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range.

The guard ranks 26th on Saint Joseph's all-time scoring list with 1,235 points and is second on the list for career free throw percentage (83.1). He also holds the SJU record for consecutive free throws made with 37. In his three seasons at SJU, West helped the Hawks to a 72-21 record with three straight post-season appearances.

"Coach Martelli has spoken with the majority of the teams in the league on my behalf and has reviewed the feedback with me and my family. I feel that there is enough interest in me to support my decision to stay in the draft this year," said West. "We understand the risks associated with my decision and the consequences of not being selected in the first round. It has been my dream to play in the NBA and I believe that now is the time for me to pursue that dream."

West continued, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Coach Martelli. Coach has been instrumental in my development as both a player and a person over the last three years."

West participated at the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago last week. He was invited to the camp under the NCAA regulation that allows underclassmen to be evaluated while retaining collegiate eligibility, provided they do not sign with an agent.

If drafted, West would join with 2004 National Player of the Year Jameer Nelson to give Saint Joseph's the most draft picks in one year since 1982, when Bryan Warrick (2nd round), Jeffery Clark (6th round) and Mark Dearborn (9th round) were selected . The last two SJU players selected in the first round of the NBA Draft were Maurice Martin (Denver Nuggets) in 1986 and Mike Bantom (Phoenix Suns) in 1973.

The 2004 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, June 24 at 7 p.m. at New York's Madison Square Garden.