- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 27, 2006

George Washington shooting guard Danilo Pinnock will sign with an agent and forego his senior season by staying in the NBA Draft.

The unexpected decision of the Colonials’ leading scorer makes him ineligible to return to college and is a major blow to the team’s chances of repeating as Atlantic 10 regular-season champions and returning to the NCAA tournament.

Many close to the program expected Pinnock to just test his NBA viability and withdraw from the two-round draft. The 6-foot-5 Pinnock, who would have become a focal point for the Colonials next season, is not considered a strong draft candidate and it remains uncertain whether he will be selected at all.

“I support his decision and I wish him all the best in his pursuit of a career in professional basketball,” coach Karl Hobbs said in a statement.

Reached later, the GW coach refused to comment further.

“My statement sums up everything,” Hobbs said in a rushed conversation.

Pinnock’s departure means the Colonials have lost four starters from last season’s squad, which posted a program-best 27-3 record, spent much of the season in the top 10 and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament before falling to top-seed Duke.

Carl Elliott is the only remaining starter. The point guard also has declared for the draft but is expected to withdraw by the June 18 deadline and return for his final season. The loss of Pinnock means much of the scoring burden will fall on junior guard Maureece Rice.

The only other rotation player coming back is forward Regis Koundjia.

“When September comes around, I will address it,” Hobbs said. “I can’t talk about it now.”

Pinnock did not return a message left at his McDonough, Ga., home. As a junior, he averaged a team-high 14.5 points and 2.5 steals a game. The guard, known for his spectacular dunks and defensive prowess, also averaged 5.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists.

Pinnock shot 48.5 percent from the field but made only 27.5 percent of his 3-pointers.

He teamed with seniors Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Mike Hall and Omar Williams to lead the Colonials to a 16-0 start. Pinnock and Mensah-Bonsu were selected to the 11-member All-A-10 first team.

The Colonials have upgraded their schedule for next season after drawing a disappointing No. 8 seed in the NCAA tournament largely because of a weak schedule.

GW next season will meet Southern Cal in the John Wooden Classic in Anaheim, Calif., in December and return to California for the Cable Car Classic in a tournament with Santa Clara, Air Force and Colgate.

The Colonials will face Virginia Tech in the BB&T; Classic. They will visit Boston University and Kennesaw (Ga.) State. Marshall will come to Smith Center.

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