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April 15, 2008

Memphis freshman Rose will enter NBA Draft

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis freshman Derrick Rose announced he was jumping to the NBA Tuesday, the same day coach John Calipari agreed in principle to a contract extension with the school.

Rose capped his spectacular first season by leading Memphis to the national championship game, where they lost to Kansas in overtime.

The 6-foot-3 guard from Chicago averaged 20.8 points in six NCAA tournament games and will likely be taken with one of the top picks in the draft.

Terms of Calipari's deal have not been finalized.

Rose, who helped Memphis to an NCAA Division I record 38 victories last season, said he enjoyed his year in college but is ready to make the leap to the NBA.

"My only regret is not winning a national title for the University of Memphis," Rose said. "I am, however, very excited about the prospect of playing in the NBA and continuing to strive to be the best player and the best person I can be."

Rose's announcement was hardly shocking.

He came to Memphis as one of the nation's top recruits, and spent the year in college only because of the NBA rule that requires a player to be at least one year removed from high school before entering the draft.

Calipari said he always worked under the assumption that Rose would be a one-and-done player.

"Derrick is one of the great players I've ever coached, but of even more importance, he is one of the greatest teammates I've been around," Calipari said in a statement. "We are forever indebted to Derrick and his family for what they did for not only this basketball program, but also for the University and the city of Memphis. It was a tremendous opportunity for me and the staff to coach such a fine person."

Memphis is still waiting to see if junior guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, the team's leading scorer and Conference USA Player of the Year, will enter the draft. Douglas-Roberts had indicated during the season that he would at least submit his name into the draft to test interest from teams.

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