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Missouri's Rush opts for NBA draft

COLUMBIA, Mo., April 10 (UPI) -- Missouri junior swingman Kareem Rush announced Wednesday that he will enter the NBA draft.

A lefthander with impressive shooting range, the 6-6 Rush averaged 19.8 points last season and helped Missouri advance to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight, where the Tigers lost to Big 12 Conference rival Oklahoma.

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"I'm happy that I have this chance to follow a dream of mine," Rush said. "Ever since I started playing this game, I always dreamed of playing in the NBA, and I feel I'm at the point now where I can make this move."

Rush indicated that while he fully intends on playing in the NBA next season, he plans to finish the spring semester at Missouri and will proceed without the services of an agent, leaving open the possibility of returning for his senior year.

"Kareem had a wonderful opportunity in front of him," Missouri Coach Quin Snyder said. "I think he has the ability to have an outstanding career at the next level. Kareem has been an excellent ambassador of our program for the past three years."

Rush averaged a Big 12-best 21.1 points as a sophomore and his career average of 18.9 points in 84 games is second best in school history to Derrick Chievous' 19.9 scoring average from 1985-88.

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The deadline is May 12 for underclassmen to enter the draft. Rush has until June 19 to withdraw his name as long as he does not hire an agent.

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