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May 22, 2008

Steele, Hendrix get camp invites

Alabama basketball players Ronald Steele and Richard Hendrix have received invitations to the NBA's Pre-Draft Camp, a key development as both players consider whether to enter the NBA Draft early.

The May 27-30 event in Orlando is the league's best evaluation opportunity for draft prospects, and provides strong feedback for its participants on where they might be drafted. Last year, 20 of 62 pre-draft camp participants were drafted.

Because neither Hendrix nor Steele has signed with an agent, both maintain the right to withdraw their names from the draft and return to Alabama for their senior seasons. Steele, in fact, has said he would have withdrawn had he not received the invite.

With a deadline of June 16, both players have a little more than three weeks to decide. The NBA Draft, which lasts for only two rounds, will be held at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 26.

Alabama guard Alonzo Gee was not invited to the camp and plans to withdraw his name from the draft pool.

"I learned a lot from the draft process and I appreciate everyone's support," Gee said in a statement. "I have decided to return to Alabama and look forward to helping our program reach our goals for the 2008-09 season."

Hendrix averaged a double-double (17.8 points, 10.1 rebounds) as a junior for the Crimson Tide last season, while Steele redshirted while recovering from knee surgery. Gee, also a junior, averaged 14.5 points and 6.8 rebounds for Alabama.

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