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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Darius Washington and Shawne Williams to Enter Draft

Letter posted on (Darius Washington's personal website)

April 24, 2006

Dear Fans,

It is with a great deal of excitement that I announce my decision to declare for the 2006 NBA Draft. Playing in the NBA has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I first learned to play basketball from my dad when I was just a kid and I have been fortunate to play for some great coaches over the years who have helped me prepare for the challenges of collegiate and professional basketball.

There were a lot of things to consider before I made my decision to enter the draft and after careful consideration I am confident that I made the best decision for me. I truly appreciate the support my friends, family, coaches and the fans have given me over the years and hope they will stand by me as I enter the next stage of fulfilling my lifelong dream.

Thank you,
Darius Washington Jr.

Article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal

By Gary Parrish
April 25, 2006

University of Memphis standout Shawne Williams plans to make himself eligible for the 2006 NBA Draft but will not immediately hire an agent, Williams’ grandfather told The Commercial Appeal today. Consequently, the freshman forward can maintain his college eligibility and return to the Tigers if he withdraws from the draft by June 18. The draft is June 28.

"He’s torn on the decision because he enjoys school, but the (financial) needs overshadow everything else," said Leon Williams, who helped raise Shawne. "The time is right if he can get the money and get a good contract."

Meanwhile, teammate Darius Washington has also announced his intentions to enter the draft. The sophomore guard declined to answer questions when reached by phone today, instead referring The Commercial Appeal to his personal Web site ( where a statement had been published that explained his decision.

Though Washington wasn’t specific, his statement indicates he will remain in the draft no matter what despite no one projecting him as a first-round pick. On the other hand, a chance remains that Shawne Williams will play at Memphis again.

Leon Williams said his grandson intends to maintain his amateur status and that if he is not projected as a top-20 pick "he will probably go back to school." As it stands, there is no guarantee Williams will go that high, though most analysts believe he’s a lock for the top 30.
UofM coach John Calipari did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
— Gary Parrish: 901-529-2365

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