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April 3, 2008

Cal's Anderson will test NBA Draft waters

BERKELEY, Calif. California sophomore forward Ryan Anderson has decided to test his NBA value by declaring for the draft Thursday without signing with an agent.

The decision gives Anderson the opportunity to work out at his own expense for NBA teams to gauge where he would be drafted before making a final decision. Anderson has until June 16 to decide whether to remain in the draft or return to school.

He is projected by draft analysts as a borderline first-round pick. How that status changes in the next two months will decide what Anderson ultimately will do.

"If I'm a late first-round pick and that's what they're telling me and I'm not guaranteed to be in the first round, that's a decision I have to sit down and think about," he said. "If I'm in the late teens or lower 20s, I'm still going to have to think about it, but it will be an easier decision to make than if I'm not guaranteed to be in first round."

Anderson is an excellent outside shooter for his size and also has good post moves. But there are questions about his strength, athleticism and defense.

The 6-foot-10 Anderson was an all-Pac-10 selection this season, leading the conference in scoring at 21.1 points per game and ranking third in rebounding at 9.9.

His 1,236 points are the most by any Cal player after his sophomore year and the 16th most in school history.

"I never really saw myself possibly leaving as a sophomore," he said. "But I have no complaints. It's been great. Cal's been great to me. It would be great either way. ... I love my teammates, I love Cal and I love being a college student. This is just a process where I'm trying to get information and learn more about the NBA game and see where I'm at."

The future of Cal's program is facing uncertainty with a search for a new head coach going on and the possibility its best player won't return. Coach Ben Braun was fired last week and the search for his successor is ongoing.

Anderson said the firing of Braun and his potential successor had little impact on his decision.

"It will basically be where I'm slotted to go," Anderson said. "It would be great to come back and have a set coach and come back and be with my teammates. If it's the best situation for me to go, then it's something I'm going to take advantage of."

The last Cal player to leave early for the NBA was Leon Powe, who entered the draft following his sophomore season in 2006.

Teammate DeVon Hardin tested the waters last year before deciding to return to school for his senior year. Hardin struggled a bit this season and saw his draft stock drop.

"He said he said it's a great way to gain information when you go to these workouts and hear from NBA guys," Anderson said. "They'll tell you if they think you're ready and where you'll be picked. This whole process will be very good for me to know where I'll be at for the future. If I do stay in college, it will be better for me next year."



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