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College basketball roundup: Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett headlines list of players withdrawing from NBA draft

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams battles Xavier guard Trevon Bluiett (5) for a rebound in an NCAA Elite Eight game on March 25, 2017, in San Jose. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams battles Xavier guard Trevon Bluiett (5) for a rebound in an NCAA Elite Eight game on March 25, 2017, in San Jose. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

CINCINNATI (AP) – Trevon Bluiett is staying at Xavier for his senior season instead of entering the NBA draft, a huge boost to a Musketeers team that reached the Elite Eight last season.

Bluiett was second in the Big East in scoring at 18.5 points per game last season. He had 19 games with 20 or more points, including 40 against crosstown rival Cincinnati.

He averaged 21.3 points during the NCAA Tournament, including 21 against Maryland, 29 against Florida State and 25 in a win over Arizona. The Musketeers lost to Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.

Zach Smith stays at Texas Tech

LUBBOCK, Texas – Zach Smith is staying at Texas Tech for his senior season after initially entering his name into the NBA draft.

Smith can return to the Red Raiders since he didn’t hire an agent. He was able to work out for some NBA teams over the last month and get some feedback from coaches and scouts.

Players who applied for early entry in the draft have until Wednesday to withdraw their names.

The 6-foot-8 forward has started 92 of his 94 career games during his first three seasons at Texas Tech. He has 890 career points, 610 rebounds and 135 blocks. Smith averaged 12.1 points and 7.2 rebounds a game last season.

Deng stays at Louisville despite program’s troubles

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Coach Rick Pitino got some good news while Louisville awaits its fate after an NCAA investigation into the men’s basketball program.

Forward Deng Adel has decided to return to school, withdrawing from consideration in the upcoming NBA draft. The 6-foot-7 junior could help the program weather the aftermath of any penalties along with a bigger-than-expected roster turnover.

Pitino and school officials met last month with the governing body’s Committee on Infractions to answer allegations that former Cardinals men’s basketball staffer Andre McGee hired escort Katina Powell and other dancers for sex parties in the team’s dormitory from 2010-14. Louisville faces four violations, including one against Pitino for failing to monitor McGee.

The NCAA’s decision is expected in early June.

Welsh, Holiday return to UCLA

LOS ANGELES – Center Thomas Welsh and reserve guard Aaron Holiday will return to UCLA after taking their names out of consideration for the NBA draft.

Neither hired an agent while exploring their draft stock. They announced their decisions on Tuesday, a day before the deadline for withdrawing from the draft.

Welsh averaged 10.8 points and a team-leading 8.7 rebounds as a junior last season. He also led the Bruins in blocked shots (43) for the third straight year, and he shot a team-high 87 percent from the free throw line.

Holiday averaged 12.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists as a sophomore.

The Bruins lost freshmen Lonzo Ball, TJ Leaf and Ike Anigbogu, who all hired agents, to the draft. Ball and Leaf are expected to be first-round picks in the next month’s draft.

Gophers’ Fitzgerald granted sixth year

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota forward Davonte Fitzgerald has been awarded a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA after sitting out the last two years as a transfer and because of injury.

In announcing the news Tuesday, Gophers coach Richard Pitino said that Fitzgerald “deserves some good fortune.”

Ineligible for the 2015-16 season following his transfer from Texas A&M, Fitzgerald tore his ACL and lateral and medial meniscus during fall practice about 7 1/2 months ago. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Fitzgerald has yet to appear in a game with the Gophers.

In 49 games for the Aggies over his freshman and sophomore years, the Atlanta native averaged 5.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 12.6 minutes per game.


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