Wednesday, June 19, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Huskies' Sanford Will Stay In School -- All-Pac-10 Player Withdraws Name From NBA Draft

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Saying he didn't want to "just be another player," Mark Sanford has withdrawn his name from the NBA draft.

The University of Washington scoring and rebounding leader, who completed his sophomore season in March, said the NBA predraft camp in Chicago this month proved two things to him:

-- "I have the athleticism and physically can play at the next level."

-- "There are some things I need to work on, like strength and ball-handling."

UW Coach Bob Bender yesterday mentioned shooting range as another area of concern in Sanford's game.

Lure of NCAA play

Sanford, 6 feet 8, 210 pounds, said other factors in his decision to remain in school were his desire to win the Pac-10 championship and to play in the NCAA Tournament.

Sanford earned first-team all-Pac-10 honors last season, averaging 16.1 points and 6.1 rebounds. His play tailed off late in the Huskies' 16-12 season.

Sanford believed he would have been selected in the two-round draft June 26 but acknowledged that some scouts advised him to remain in school.

"I had enough positive feedback that would have ensured I would have gotten drafted, but I don't think now is the time," he said.

The forward said he remained eligible by continuing to take classes and not signing with an agent. He said he insulated himself from agents by getting an unlisted telephone and ignoring pages from out-of-state.

Reason for not waiting

Sanford could have waited until after the draft to declare his intention to return to school. However, any team that drafted him this year would have retained rights to him. Also, his initial NBA salary whenever he entered the league would be determined by his draft position this year.

Bender is delighted that Sanford is returning.

"For our basketball team, for next year as well as the future of our program, this certainly helps," Bender said. "This brings back a player who has meant a lot to the progress our program has made and a player that now has even greater goals and motivation."

Bender said the predraft camp and comments of scouts have given Sanford increased awareness of what parts of his game need improvement.

Sanford said he made the decision to withdraw from the draft when he returned from the Chicago camp.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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