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Loren Woods Stays
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 30, 2000
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TUCSON--Arizona center Loren Woods announced in a news conference today that he would put off a potential professional career and return for his senior season in 2000-2001.

Woods, an All-Pacific-10 first-team selection and the league Newcomer of the Year in his first playing season with Arizona, had been the subject of considerable speculation whether he would make himself eligible for the NBA draft.

"I've received a lot of information. I've decided to put off the NBA for one more year and stay for my senior year. I've been pushed in so many ways the last couple of weeks," Woods said.

"If I make the jump, I want to show what I can do. Not what I did in February (when he was injured), but right before the draft," he said.

A back injury caused Woods to miss the Wildcats' final eight games of the season including the UA's second-round NCAA loss to eventual Final Four entrant Wisconsin.

Woods blocked 102 shots to set an Arizona single-season record and the third-best total in Pac-10 history. On Feb. 3 in Tucson against Oregon, he recorded a triple double with 16 points, 10 rebounds and an NCAA record-tying 14 blocked shots.

"If I stay in school, I have to give 100 percent to show my back is okay," Woods said.

Woods transferred to Arizona from Wake Forest prior to the 1998-99 campaign and sat out that year per NCAA transfer rules. He averaged a team-high 15.6 points and 3.9 blocked shots per game, while pulling down 7.5 rebounds per contest this year.

With Woods' announcement, Arizona stands to return all five starters from the 27-7 team which earned a No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Championships.

Associate coach Jim Rosborough, on hand for Woods' announcement but without prior knowledge of the player's decision, waited patiently with the media, some team members and the rest of the crowd on hand for the announcement -- which took Woods about five minutes to get to in his explanation of his decision-making.

"For coach (Lute) Olson and the entire staff, I'm extremely pleased. Over his few years here, we have all gotten to like Loren a lot. He is a fine young man who represents community and the university well. He's had fun here," Rosborough said.

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