warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Vucevic Declares for NBA Draft

Dave Dulberg |
March 25, 2011 | 6:31 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer

Nikola Vucevic is NBA bound. (Shotgun Spratling)
Nikola Vucevic is NBA bound. (Shotgun Spratling)
It didn’t take long for USC’s Nikola Vucevic to make a decision on his impending future. The junior forward announced Friday his intentions to sign with an agent and enter this June’s NBA draft.

The Montenegro native led the Trojans in scoring (17.1 point per game) and rebounding (10.3 boards per game) this season en route to being named a member of the All-Pac 10 team.

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, Vucevic met with USC coach Kevin O’Neill on Tuesday to discuss his future plans and determined at that point it was best to test the professional waters.

While O’Neill has indicated multiple times that USC would greatly benefit from Vucevic's return, he plans to help the big man in his pursuit of making it to the next level -- an about-face from the reaction former-USC football coach Pete Carroll had when junior quarterback Mark Sanchez made a similar decision three years ago.

“I want to make it clear that at no point did I try and talk Nik out of going to the NBA,” O’Neill said.

The deadline to file for the draft, which the junior forward has yet to officially do, is on April 24. Under new NCAA rules, a player must decide whether to keep his name in the draft by May 8.

However, because Vucevic plans to hire agent Rade Filipovich from BDA Sports Management, the Pac-10’s most improved player from a year ago has officially given up his final year of eligibility.

“I just feel like if you do something, you have to go at it 100 percent,” Vucevic told the Times.

Vucevic’s departure further decimates O’Neill’s starting lineup, as USC will also lose seniors Alex Stepheson, Marcus Simmons and Donte Smith to graduation.

O’Neill remained optimistic about next season, saying even without Vucevic next year’s team will be about as good talent-wise as the team that just lost to VCU in the “First Four” two weeks ago.


To reach Dave Dulberg, click here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.