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Washington Sophomore Withdraws From Draft

June 19, 1996

SEATTLE (AP) _ University of Washington sophomore Mark Sanford announced Tuesday he has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft and will return to school for his junior season.

The 6-foot-8 forward had sent a letter to NBA commissioner David Stern on April 29, declaring himself eligible for the June 26 draft.

But Sanford had a change of heart after participating in the NBA’s predraft camp in Chicago two weeks ago and meeting with Washington coach Bob Bender last week.

``There are still some things in college that I want to do,″ he said Tuesday. ``I want to win a Pac-10 championship and play in the NCAA tournament.″

NBA scouts were impressed by Sanford’s athletic ability, but many felt he wasn’t ready for the pros. Scouts were concerned about his ball-handling and lack of range on his jump shot.

``He’s really a raw talent who needs to work on his small forward skills,″ Miami Heat scout Chris Wallace said. ``He can run and jump and do a lot of nice things, but he’s definitely not ready for this league. But he’s an intriguing talent.″

``He’s making a huge mistake if he doesn’t go back to school,″ Boston scout Rick Weitzman said. ``I think Chicago was an eye-opening experience for him. He still has a ways to go.″

Sanford was a first-team all-Pacific-10 Conference selection last season. He averaged a team-high 16.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Sanford is the second player to withdraw from the draft this year. California freshman forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim pulled his name from the draft last month.

Underclassmen have until 48 hours before the draft to remove their names from consideration.

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