LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) _ Befitting an honor student, Jacque Vaughn quoted poetry to explain why he's passing up the NBA draft to stay at Kansas for his senior year.

``I feel that God put me in a position when I came here to be a different and unique individual setting a standard,'' the slick point guard told a news conference Monday.

``As Robert Frost said, `To take a path less traveled.' I think I'm doing that.''

The Big Eight Player of the Year known more for leadership and ball-handling than offensive skills, Vaughn said he did not decide ``100 percent'' until Sunday night. He'd been wrestling with the decision ever since Kansas lost to Syracuse in the finals of the West Regional of the NCAA tournament.

``It's been a long process for me,'' said the 6-foot-1 California native. ``I will not forgo my senior season. I will be back here to be the point guard for the university.''

About 100 students in the back of the room, including most of Vaughn's teammates, broke into cheers. They, like everybody but coach Roy Williams, had not been told the decision beforehand.

``I really feel that I wanted to take a stand and be a different person,'' Vaughn said.

``And that's not looking down his nose or putting anybody else down who's decided to go to the NBA,'' added Williams, sitting at Vaughn's side.

Vaughn's staying means every Jayhawk starter and all but one of the top reserves will be back from last year's 29-5 team.

``I think this is the most difficult path for him,'' Williams said. ``It would have been the easy thing to do to go to the NBA. It was guaranteed money. He was going to be a No. 1 draft choice.

``But by coming back, he's put himself in the position of having even more expectations and even more pressure than he would have had if he'd gone to the NBA.''

Vaughn averaged a little better than 10 points last season and in three seasons has recorded 642 assists, No. 2 in schoopl history. In four NCAA games last March he averaged 8.3 assists.

He's also an academic star carrying a 3.70 grade point in business administration studies.

``The pressures on him and the pressures on our team will be immense. But he's going to be able to handle the talk of first-team all-America, Final Four, national championship, and the fact he's the leader of our group,'' Williams said. ``He's under a much larger microscope by staying here.''

Vaughn and Williams both said he was not influenced by the availability of other point guards in this year's draft such as Allen Iverson of Georgetown, Stephon Marbury of Georgia Tech and Steve Nash of Santa Clara.

``He was very unconcerned about his draft position,'' Williams said. ``If I thought he could have been one of the top 10, I would have pushed him out because the money would have been hard to turn down. Basically, the young man chose his dream of getting a diploma before the dream of the NBA.''

Williams said his research indicated Vaughn would have been a late first-round choice in the June 26 draft. Given his history of steady improvement every year, he will presumably be even more valuable, possibly a top five pick or better, in 1997.

``You can make a case both ways,'' Williams said. ``He is losing a year of earning power. But if you improve your draft position, you're going to gain that back at a much quicker pace.''