- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2011

LEXINGTON, KY. (AP) - Kentucky guard DeAndre Liggins will remain in the NBA draft.

Liggins announced Sunday he will turn pro rather than return for his senior season after talking to NBA scouts during a weekend camp hosted by the New Jersey Nets.

The 6-foot-6 Liggins said it “was in the best interests of me and my family to stay in the draft.”

Liggins‘ length and aggressiveness helped him become one of the top defenders in the country during his three years at Kentucky. He averaged 8.6 points and 4.0 rebounds last season while helping the Wildcats reach their first Final Four in 13 years.

Underclassmen had until midnight Sunday to take their name out of the draft pool.

Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight also is staying in the draft while forward Terrence Jones announced Saturday he will come back for his sophomore season.

Liggins, unlike his more heralded teammates, isn’t considered a first-round pick but coach John Calipari encouraged Liggins to explore his options.

Calipari ultimately urged Liggins to stay at Kentucky but added he supports his decision.

Despite the departure of Liggins and Knight, Kentucky should be loaded with talent next season. The Wildcats welcome another high-profile group of freshmen in the fall led by point guard Marquis Teague and forwards Anthony Davis and Michael Gilchrist.

(This version corrects Gilchrist’s first name)

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