CHAPEL HILL, N.C., May 7 -- North Carolina guard Jeff McInnis continued the parade of underclassmen entering into the NBA draft Monday when he announced he would forego his final year of college eligibility. The 6-foot-4 McInnis is the 18th underclassman to declare his eligibility for the June 26 draft. California freshman Shareef Abdur- Rahim and Iowa forward Jess Settles also declared they will enter the draft Tuesday. The deadline is Sunday. McInnis is the seventh Tar Heel -- and the third in two years -- to leave school early for the NBA draft. The previous six were all selected among the top five picks, but McInnis figures to be chosen much deeper in the first round. 'Jeff is the first Carolina basketball player choosing to give up college eligibility without me knowing the approximate spot one would be drafted,' North Carolina coach Dean Smith said. 'It is my opinion he will be drafted in the first round, but not in the top five. 'He has played well for us and against several players already in the NBA. He will be a solid point guard for an NBA team.' McInnis, a native of Charlotte, averaged 16.5 points and added 170 assists in his junior season. As a sophomore, he helped guide North Carolina to an appearance in the Final Four. McInnis is one of three point guards among eligible underclassmen, joining Georgetown's Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury of Georgia Tech. 'I am confident of making the NBA as I have played against several of the players in this draft as well as players already in the NBA,' said McInnis.
'Playing here at Carolina gave me the opportunity to compete against some of the best guards in the country, guys like Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Travis Best and Cory Alexander.' Academically, McInnis has completed three years of college. He said he will eventually get his degree, but concentrate on choosing an agent. 'I'm proud of my son, Jeff,' said Cynthia Mcinnis, his mother. 'Not only can he realize his dream to play professional basketball, he also has completed three years of college and has promised me he will earn his degree in a few summers.'