- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2007

Georgetown forward Jeff Green will remain in the NBA Draft while center Roy Hibbert will withdraw his name from consideration and return for his senior season.

The juniors, who led the Hoyas to their first Final Four appearance in 22 years, announced their decisions in a press conference yesterday at McDonough Arena.

“Just sitting down with my family and coach, I decided I should stay in this draft, and it would be the best thing for me,” said the 6-foot-9 Green, who earned Big East player of the year honors after leading the Hoyas in scoring with 14.3 points and ranking second with 6.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. “I’ve had three great seasons here, but it’s time to move on. I’m in a good position to go pretty high in this draft.”

Green hasn’t signed with an agent but said he has begun the process of selecting one.

The 7-foot-2 Hibbert, meanwhile, felt he could improve his draft stock and his game by staying for another season at Georgetown.

“I talked it over with my family and coach and after getting a read on my draft status, I decided I had some unfinished business here,” said Hibbert, who averaged 12.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last season. “I was projected anywhere from eighth to 14th. I thought about it, but I said, ‘Do I really wanna go kinda low in the draft and sit on the bench for a year or come back and get better and go higher next year?’ ”

Both players submitted their names for early entry into the draft April 13 but didn’t hire agents so they could maintain their college eligibility.

“These guys really took their time through this process, and I’m extremely supportive of both their decisions,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “I think they both made the right decision. In regards to Jeff, hopefully we’ll have another jersey to hang up in the gym next year. As far as Roy goes, we have work to do and figure out how to help him to continue to get better.”

Some draft experts have Green ranked among the top 10 players in this year’s class.

“Scouts love his versatility and all-around game,” ESPN.com’s Chad Ford wrote in his player rankings. “He could be the Brandon Roy of this year’s draft.”

Roy earned NBA rookie of the year honors while averaging 16.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists last season for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Some draft evaluators, however, have Green rated lower.

“Everyone knows him to be versatile guy, a guy that knows how to play good basketball,” said an Eastern Conference official speaking on the condition of anonymity. “I think he is what he is. I don’t think he is going to come in and be a star. He’s a nice piece guy. When you talk about a lottery pick, you want a guy who more than blends in, which is what I think he’ll do. [Teams] just don’t know if he has that killer instinct, and that’s the question mark. … He’ll run the floor, but he’s not as athletic as the [small forwards] are going to be at the next level.”

But Green, who has a chance to become the seventh Georgetown player since 1985 to be selected in the top 10, doesn’t pay much attention to mock drafts.

“I just know I have to get better at everything, mentally, physically,” he said. “Just better all around because everyone’s faster and stronger on that next level.”

Hibbert, who came to Georgetown as a raw recruit and has improved each season, was projected anywhere from the top 10 to mid-teens. But with a healthy crop of post players (Greg Oden, Al Horford, Yi Jianlian, Joakim Noah, Spencer Hawes) in this year’s class, he could have taken a draft-day plunge.

“It’s a good move for Hibbert to go back,” the Eastern Conference official said. “He has to continue to work on his body, and he’s not that athletic. He has a good feel for game. [Thompson] can help him become a better player.”

Note — Thompson said he has filled the two vacancies on his coaching staff. Kenya Hunter, an assistant at Xavier, and David Cox, a former director of basketball operations at Pittsburgh with connections to the District’s St. John’s High School and the D.C. Assault local AAU team, will replace Kevin Broadus and Sydney Johnson, who were hired at Binghamton and Princeton, respectively.

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