Vucevic Going Pro

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USC All-Pac-10 junior big man Nikola Vucevic announced that he will enter the NBA Draft and sign with an agent today at a news conference.

"It's been a tough decision for me," he said.  "I feel like home here.  I'm proud that I'll always be a Trojan."

Vucevic-UCLA.jpgHead coach Kevin O'Neill stressed that he fully supports Vucevic in his decision and advised him to fully commit himself to the process.

"He has set a standard for what we want to have here going forward as far as people or players," said O'Neill, who attributes the Trojans' ability to come through sanctions in part to Vucevic's rapid improvement.  "He was forced to grow up and be a man in that two year period.  I can't thank him enough."

Scouts differ on his draft stock plus there is a possibility of an NBA lockout next season.  However, the Montenegro native is not worried in either case because he can fall back on playing professionally in Europe. 

"I know I can't stay here forever," said Vucevic, who expressed gratitude to the entire Trojan Family.  "I think this is the best time for me to leave."

O'Neill, a former NBA head coach with the Toronto Raptors, believes Vucevic's ability to guard both power forwards and centers will make him a valuable asset at the next level.

"His potential to get better is definitely there," the head coach explained that Vucevic is still just 20.  "We wish Nik on this day every bit of luck for success and a long NBA career."

The 2011-12 Trojans will see new starters at the four and five positions.  However, they have ready-made replacements in transfers Aaron Fuller and DeWayne Dedmon plus freshman Curtis Washington.

"All three of them will do a great job of replacing me," Vucevic said.

Here is the full press conference...


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