AUSTIN, Texas - University of Texas junior swingman Damion James will declare himself eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft but does not plan to hire an agent, he announced today. James ranks third in UT history in career rebounds (968), fourth in career double-doubles (37), seventh in career blocks (123) and 18th in career scoring (1,306 points) following his first three seasons in Austin.
"Ever since I started playing the game of basketball, I've dreamed of playing in the NBA," James said. "Now I have the chance to live out that dream. I really appreciate the full support of my family and the entire Texas coaching staff through this process. Once I finish up this semester strong academically, I'll have the opportunity to do workouts for different teams and see where I stand."
James earned a spot on the All-Big 12 Conference Second Team and the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) All-District 8 Second Team as a junior. He led the team in rebounding (9.2 rpg) and double-doubles (16) and ranked second in scoring (15.4 ppg). James also earned a spot on the Academic All-Big 12 First Team for the second straight season.
"Damion and I sat down and talked this decision through, and it's the right thing to do," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "I really appreciate Damion's loyalty to our program and the way he has handled this situation. He can get a feel for the system and receive the correct information directly from the NBA on where he stands."
In 108 career games (106 starts), James has averaged 12.1 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest. His 9.0 career rebounds per game average ranks fourth in school history.
The 2009 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 25 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.