UCLA's Love, KU Duo Ready For NBA

By Josh Herwitt - April 17, 2008

It's what we all expected but what UCLA fans were hoping wouldn't come true when the 2007-08 season came to an end.

Yes, Kevin Love is headed to the NBA.

With UCLA coach Ben Howland and Love's father, Stan Love, along side him, the freshman forward formally announced his decision Thursday afternoon at a campus news conference, choosing to skip his final three college seasons and enter this June's draft as a potential lottery pick, according to several NBA scouts.

Love led the Bruins in both points (17.5) and rebounds (10.6) in helping UCLA tally a 35-win season and earn its third consecutive trip to the Final Four before losing to Memphis.

He wasn't, however, the only player to announce on Thursday his future plans to play in the NBA.

Two of Kansas' three biggest stars -- Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur -- declared themselves eligible for the draft less than two weeks after helping the Jayhawks win their first national title in 20 years.

This is the second time that Rush has declared for the NBA draft, leaving him no opportunity to return to college. He'll instead shop for an agent in the coming weeks and begin working out for NBA teams in the next month.

Arthur, meanwhile, has yet to hire an agent, which would leave him the chance to go back to Lawrence, Kan., if it appears he won't be drafted high enough to his liking.

"We knew going into the season...this particular day was coming," Kansas coach Bill Self explained. "Brandon is at a point that it's time for him to move on and Shady [Arthur] owes it to himself to investigate. There's no surprises on what transpired today."

Rush was set to leave for the NBA after his sophomore season last year, but the Kansas City, Mo., native tore his ACL during a pickup game last May and pulled himself out of the draft.

Then after intensive rehab, Rush came back earlier than expected and slowly found his role once again in Kansas' rotation, averaging a team-best 13.3 points and garnering MVP honors in the Big 12 Tournament.

NBA scouts believe that the junior will be a late first-round, early second-round pick in the June 26 draft, though the 6-foot-6 guard-forward combo says it will depends on how he plans his workouts.

"I've really got to get after it these next couple of weeks and get to work and get ready for the workouts," he said.

Arthur is also looking at being a first-round pick thanks to a stellar sophomore season that saw him blossom under the guidance of former Jayhawks star and assistant coach Danny Manning.

Coming off a rookie campaign that had him averaging 9.9 points per game, Arthur became more assertive on the offensive end, tying Chalmers for second on the team in scoring at 12.8 ppg and finishing second in rebounding.

On the defensive end, Arthur led Kansas in blocked shots for the second straight year with 53, something that could intrigue NBA teams to go after him early if they also like what they see during his upcoming workouts.

"He's going to be a first-round draft pick," Self asserted. "The question is where he's going to go.

"We have a feel in the range that he would go in and I think he's totally comfortable with that feel, knowing that you need to go perform well."

If Arthur believes he'll be in the top 15 of the draft, he'll hire an agent and call it quits on his collegiate career. But if he doesn't get picked that high, you can expect him to return to Kansas.

Either way, it's not a bad situation for the 20-year-old out of Dallas.

"I'm in a win-win situation right now," Arthur offered. "I'm going into it the right way, without an agent, and I feel very comfortable in coming and trying to compete for another national championship if things don't go the way I want them to."

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 06:57 PM on April 17, 2008

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