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SoCalHoops College/NBA News

Yikes!! Four Now Gone As Gilbert Arenas
Declares For NBA--(Apr. 12, 2001)

Was there ever any doubt that this was where Gilbert Arenas was headed?  It seems we've almost come full circle with SoCalHoops, now that one of our first and favorite players has decided to go big-time.  Like he already wasn't big-time?  One of the first high school profiles and previews we wrote back in 1997 here at SoCalHoops,  was on Grant High School, and one of the first players we wrote about was a rising junior at the time, a scoring phenom as a soph, Gilbert Arenas.  And over the years, he only got better, and better, and more exciting to watch.  And we were happy to get to know him, his father, and to watch him turn into one of the best players in the country, and certainly one of the best players ever to come out of the San Fernando Valley region.  

Well, it just so happened that yesterday (Thursday), we were attending the formal dedication of Northridge Hospital's new "Harold and Carole Pump Cancer Radiation Treatment Center", which has generously been endowed by the sons of Harold Pump who died of cancer a year and a half ago, David and Dana Pump with a pledge of $500,000 (which means that the Pumps are going to have to throw a lot of golf tournaments, fund raisers, basketball tournaments and camps to make good on a pledge that large. . .but it's for a great cause). . .but we digress.  We were at this dedication ceremony yesterday, and so was Gilbert Arenas, Sr., Gil's father.   So we asked, "Is Gilbert going to declare?"  He smiled, and smiled, and then made us promise, "Yes, but you can't print it until it's in the papers."  "Ok,"   we agreed.   And lo and behold,  this morning we awoke to a headline on the front of the Daily News sport page, which declared: " Arenas to enter the NBA Draft."    In the story which accompanied the headline, Vincent Bonsignore writes that Arenas "will forgo his final two years as Arizona to declare for the NBA draft"  according to "multiple sources".   Er, um, ok.  Multiple sources is good enough for us.   And so is his dad.

And later in the day, it actually became official:  The Associated Press tonight is reporting that Arenas has in fact declared for the NBA draft, becoming the fourth player from Arizona to leave early.   Of course while this is likely to be great news for Arenas and his dad, who went from living out of their car less than 10 years ago when they arrived from Florida in their car and little more than $30, to the prospect of Arenas going as high as a top 10 lottery pick and a guaranteed minimum of $3 million,  the declaration also has the effect of turning a first-place contender in the Pac-10 to a possible projected fifth-place darkhorse.  Oh well, in every silver lining, there's got to be a hole somewhere, right? Or is it the other way around?  Whatever. . . .Here's the AP story:

Arizona's Arenas opting for NBA draft
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Gilbert Arenas declared for the NBA draft Thursday, the fourth player from Arizona's NCAA tournament runner-up team to leave school early. Earlier, sophomore point guard Jason Gardner said he would enter the draft, and forwards Michael Wright and Richard Jefferson said they will forgo their senior seasons. "When I came here two years ago without much recognition, I always thought I'd play here for four years," Arenas said. "But after two great years in Tucson, I feel like I'm ready to take the next step and play in the NBA." Arenas, a 6-foot-3 sophomore shooting guard, led the Wildcats with an average of 16.2 points per game. He shot 47.9 percent from the floor in 36 games this season. Luke Walton will be the only player returning with significant playing time last season. Also back will be Rick Anderson, who started seven games two seasons ago and was a redshirt last season, and Travis Hanour, who appeared in 19 games as a freshman last season.

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