April 9, 2007
BERKELEY - University of California junior center DeVon Hardin announced Monday he has made himself eligible for the 2007 NBA Draft. He does not plan to sign with an agent, leaving him the option of returning to the Golden Bear program for his senior season.
"I am looking to get an evaluation of my game and find out where I am physically," Hardin said. "The only way to get better is to compete against the best. I want to see where I stand, and my decision will depend on how I do against those guys. I don't see anything to lose. I'm still going to classes. I want to get feedback from NBA scouts and let them tell me where I stand and what I need to work on."
One of the top shot-blockers in school history, the 6-11, 235-pound Hardin's 95 blocks rank fifth on Cal's all-time list. For his career, he has averaged 6.6 ppg and 6.0 rpg, shooting 49.9 percent from the floor.
"DeVon is using this opportunity just as the rule was intended," head coach Ben Braun said. "He will have a chance to test his marketability before his final year without jeopardizing his eligibility, and the feedback he receives should help him considerably."
Last season, Hardin averaged 10.7 points and 8.4 rebounds and blocked 21 shots in 11 games before suffering a stress fracture to his left mid-foot that caused him to miss the remainder of the year. Prior to the injury, Hardin was named to the all-tournament team at the Great Alaska Shootout after finishing with 16 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks vs. Loyola Marymount in the championship game.
"My foot is coming along fine," said Hardin, who has resumed training and has begun participating in off-season conditioning workouts. "I'm working on strengthening my lower body and getting back in shape."
As Cal's starting center his sophomore year in 2005-06, Hardin earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors, helping the Bears to the NCAA Tournament. He averaged 7.3 ppg and 6.6 rpg with 48 blocks, ranking fifth in the Pac-10 in rebounding and fourth in blocks (1.55 bpg). He set career highs with 23 points and 14 rebounds vs. Northeastern on Nov. 26, 2005, when he was named MVP of the Golden Bear Classic.
Hardin started 13 of 29 games as a freshman in 2004-05 and contributed 4.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg.
Hardin has until June 18 to withdraw his name from draft consideration, should he choose to do so. Until then, he can work out for NBA teams and attend the NBA Pre-Draft Camp May 29-June 4 in Orlando, Fla., at his own expense. The 2007 draft will be held June 28 in New York.