- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LOS ANGELES (AP) - UCLA guard Malcolm Lee is leaving school to enter the NBA draft and he plans to hire an agent, ensuring he won’t be eligible to return for his senior season.

Lee said Tuesday that he is immediately withdrawing from school.

He averaged 13.1 points, second-best on the team, along with 3.1 rebounds this season. He was voted first-team All-Pac-10 and to the league’s All-Defensive team.

Lee shot 44 percent from the field, 29 percent from 3-point range and 78 percent from the line.

He joins sophomore forward Tyler Honeycutt in declaring for the draft, continuing a trend at UCLA in which 10 players have been drafted in the last seven years of coach Ben Howland’s tenure.

“It’s a really tough time for these kids to be coming out this year in terms of the lockout looming and how it affects the draft,” Howland said.

He said Lee has been projected as a second-round pick. Lee had knee surgery three weeks ago and with the possibility of a lockout and his projected second-round status, Howland said he told Lee and his family that he should return to school.

“I thought that would have been in his best interests,” Howland said. “Malcolm knows he’s a good player and he really wants to take this step now and I have to respect that.

“I think he’s going to make it eventually. I’m just hoping this works out for him.”

Howland said Lee plans to move to Las Vegas and begin his pre-draft workouts as he rehabs his knee.

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