May 23, 2006
BERKELEY - California sophomore forward Leon Powe announced Tuesday that he plans to sign with an agent and will remain in the NBA Draft, foregoing his final two seasons with the Golden Bears.
Powe, a 2005-06 All-Pac-10 player and second-team Associated Press All-American, initially declared for the draft April 19, but did not sign with an agent at the time in order to retain his collegiate eligibility.
"I support Leon's decision to officially pursue his professional career," Cal head coach Ben Braun said. "I've encouraged him all along to make a decision when he feels he's ready. I believe Leon will be successful at the next level. He's strong, he's durable, and he has a tremendous work ethic. I believe his best years are ahead of him. What he did as a sophomore after a year layoff was remarkable."
Braun added that Powe informally met with the Cal coaching staff last week to advise them of his thoughts and officially told them his decision Tuesday.
During the 2005-06 season, Powe averaged a Pac-10-leading 20.5 ppg and 10.1 rpg. The two-time All-Pac-10 performer was also voted Most Outstanding Player of the '06 conference tournament after pulling down a tournament-record 20 rebounds in the quarterfinals vs. USC and scoring a tourney-record 41 points in the semifinals against Oregon.
Powe helped Cal to a 20-11 overall record in 2005-06, a third-place finish in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
During his rookie campaign in 2003-04 when he was voted Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Powe averaged 15.1 ppg and 9.5 rpg, becoming the first freshman in the history of the league to lead the Pac-10 in rebounding. He redshirted in 2004-05 after undergoing a pair of surgeries to his left knee.
For his career, Powe's average of 17.8 ppg is sixth-best ever at Cal and his rebound rate of 9.8 rpg is fourth highest in school history.
The NBA Draft is June 28.