Len to declare for NBA draft

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Sports,Campus Confidential,Kevin Dunleavy

A Maryland source has confirmed a yahoo.com report that sophomore Alex Len will enter the NBA draft. Players must declare their intentions for the June 27 draft by April 16. Len, a 7-foot-1 center averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocked shots this season.

The news comes as little surprise. When asked repeatedly this year about the possibility of Len, who is from the Ukraine, turning pro, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon always had some version of the following answer – “Alex came to Maryland to play in the NBA,” he said in January.

According to mock draft boards, Len is expected to be a top 10 pick. His stock, once slightly higher, dropped this year with his inconsistent play when Maryland faced tougher competition in the ACC.

Len’s departure and the graduation of James Padgett leaves Maryland with three experienced players inside — rising sophomores Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell and 6-9 junior Evan Smotrycz, a former starter at Michigan who sat out this season after transferring. Incoming 6-9 freshman Damonte Dodd (Queen Anne’s) who prepped this season at Massanutten, is expected to contribute as well.

Len is the third player from Maryland in as many years to enter his name in the draft. Forward Jordan Williams, who declared for the 2011 draft after his sophomore season, was picked in the second round, 36th overall, by the New Jersey Nets. Guard Terrell Stoglin, who declared for the 2012 draft after his sophomore year, was not selected. Williams averages 4.6 points and 3.6 points this season for the Nets. Stoglin plays in Greece.

Kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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