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(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
It was Christmas in June at 20th and Olney when 6-8 forward Steven Smith pulled his name out of the NBA draft and decided to return to La Salle for his senior season.
Smith, the 2005 Co-Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, had his degree in business management in hand already but had one year of eligibility remaining. Still, after averaging 20.3 points and nearly 8.5 rebounds per game last season, Smith decided to test the NBA waters. Considered a late second-round pick at the start of the process, Smith improved his stock at the NBA pre-draft in Chicago this spring by averaging 16 points per game, the second-best scoring average of all the invitees.
According to NBA personnel types, Smith would have been an early-to-mid second-round pick, so he made the decision to come back to La Salle for one year in hopes of playing his way into the first round in 2006. First-rounders get a guaranteed three-year contract, while things are much more dicey for second-round picks.