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June 10, 2008

Shipp pulls out of draft, returning to UCLA

LOS ANGELES UCLA's Josh Shipp has withdrawn from the NBA draft and will return to the Bruins for his senior season.

The guard declared himself eligible in April on the final day underclassmen could enter the draft, but did not hire an agent, which allowed him to back out under NCAA rules.

"I am glad I went through this process," Shipp said in a statement Tuesday. "But at the end of the day, I wanted to come back and make another run for the championship. We've been close three times and a goal of mine is to win the NCAA championship."

Shipp averaged 12.2 points and 3.2 rebounds during UCLA's run to its third consecutive Final Four. The Bruins lost to Memphis in the national semifinals.

After going through hip troubles in his first two seasons, he started a school-record 39 games and led the Bruins in 3-point field goals.

"I expect him to have his best year as a Bruin, and not just because of his talent, but because this is the first summer in the last three that he can focus on his game as opposed to having to rehab from hip surgery," UCLA coach Ben Howland said.

Three of Shipp's teammates entered the draft: freshman Kevin Love, sophomore Russell Westbrook and junior Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

But Shipp's return will give the Bruins three senior starters with Darren Collison and Alfred Aboya also returning.

"I think that with Josh, Darren and Alfred we have a great core group of seniors," Howland said. "This will be the first time in the last three seasons that we have had more than one.

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