Junior guard could return to program next season
TUCSON, Ariz. + University of Arizona men’s basketball player Chris Rodgers has decided to make himself eligible for the 2005 NBA Draft. Rodgers is leaving open the possibility of returning to the Wildcats for his senior season.
Rodgers, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard from Portland, Ore., averaged 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, while shooting 37.4 percent from the floor in 36 appearances in 2004-05. A member of the Fiesta Bowl Classic all-tournament team, Rodgers led the team with a 2.30 assist:turnover ratio, ranked second on the club in three-point field goals (33), and third in assists (76) and steals (41).
“After a lot of thoughtful discussions with my family and coaching staff, I feel that this is a step in the right direction,” said Rodgers. It’s a good opportunity, a challenge for me. I’m leaving my options open. I want to get the experience and feedback from the NBA. I plan on coming back to school next year and leading the team to a great season.”
Through three seasons, Rodgers averaged 5.6 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 94 career games. He’s a 38.3 percent shooter for his career and has earned nine starts.
“I think it’s a good idea for Chris to do this,” said Arizona head coach Lute Olson. “We support the idea of Chris seeing where he stands. It’s something that he needs to do in order to give himself a shot to play on that level in the future.”
Rodgers has until June 21 to withdraw his name from the draft‑eligible list and, by not signing with an agent, he could return to college without losing eligibility.
Rodgers joins a list of seven other Wildcats to declare early for the NBA Draft during the Lute Olson era: Brian Williams (1991), Mike Bibby (1998), Gilbert Arenas (2001), Jason Gardner (2001), Richard Jefferson (2001), Michael Wright (2001) and Andre Iguodala (2004). Of that list, only Gardner returned to school and completed his eligibility.
The 2005 NBA Draft is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.