- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2011

KNOXVILLE, TENN. (AP) - Tennessee freshman forward Tobias Harris will remain in the NBA draft after being projected as a first-round pick.

“Want to thank all that supported me during my time at UT. Its truly been a blessing, the Lord has guided me in the greatest of ways,” Harris posted on Twitter on Friday afternoon shortly after the announcement that he would remain in the draft.

Harris was second among Volunteers with 15.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season. He started 33 of the 34 games he played as a freshman.

At 6-foot-8, 226-pounds, he has shown enough flexibility to play small forward, power forward and shooting guard. Draft analysts have projected him as high as the No. 16 selection.

The Dix Hills, N.Y., native was a McDonald’s high school All-American and recruited by former Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl as the top forward prospect and No. 5 overall prospect in 2010.

New Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, who played briefly in the NBA before pursuing his coaching career, said he enjoyed getting to know Harris as he went through individual workouts at Tennessee in April.

“First of all, Tobias is a wonderful young man. He had a great freshman season, but more importantly he also conducts himself in all the right ways off the court. There’s no doubt he’ll be successful,” Harris said. “He’ll always be a Tennessee Volunteer, and just like every other former player, we’re always here for him. He’s part of the family.”

His teammate, junior guard Scotty Hopson, is also expected to remain in the NBA draft. The deadline for players to decide whether to remain in the draft or return to school is Sunday.

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