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Rhode Island’s Odom Heads to NBA

May 17, 1999

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (AP) _ Lamar Odom, Rhode Island’s star forward, has declared for the NBA draft after one outstanding collegiate season.

The 6-foot-10 sophomore filed the necessary papers with the NBA Sunday, the university said in a statement today.

``It has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA and I am excited about the possibility of playing on the next level,″ Odom, 19, said in a statement released by the school.

``I want to explore the opportunities that are available to me. I want to investigate and research my options.″

Unless he hires an agent, Odom can pull out of the draft as late as June 23 and return to college. Last year, Odom declared for the draft, then pulled out June 16 after he was admitted to Rhode Island.

If he goes to the NBA, he will be giving up two years of college eligibility.

Odom is considered a probable lottery pick.

He led Rhode Island in scoring (17.6) and rebounding (9.4) last season. The Rams (20-13) lost to North Carolina-Charlotte in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Odom has played only one season at Rhode Island, and the school took the unusual step of giving him a voice in the hiring of its coach after Jim Harrick left for Georgia.

Odom entered UNLV in 1997, but he was accused of cheating on a college entrance exam. He was upset by the accusations and chose to transfer. A UNLV assistant coach insists Odom did not cheat on the test.

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