Smith declares for draft

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee forward Tyler Smith has declared for the 2009 NBA draft but will not hire an agent.

Smith can work out and be evaluated by NBA teams in the weeks before the June 25 draft but could withdraw his name before June 15 and return to school.

"Playing in the NBA has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember, and I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to come to Tennessee and grow as a basketball player and as a man," Smith said in a statement Wednesday. "Two seasons with coach [Bruce] Pearl and his staff have helped me move closer to my goal of playing professional basketball at the highest level."

Smith, who played at Iowa as a freshman, has averaged 15.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in his two seasons at Tennessee and hasn't missed a game.

He was named to The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference team both seasons while helping to lead the Volunteers to back-to-back regular-season SEC titles.

During the 2008-09 season, Smith led the team with an average 17.4 points and 3.4 assists per game. He also grabbed an average 5.8 rebounds per game and led the team with 76 percent free-throw shooting.

"Tyler has earned this opportunity to test the waters," Pearl said. "This is absolutely the right thing to do. Tyler did not choose to work out last season because you can only take advantage of this opportunity one time. He did not feel he was close enough to being a first-rounder a year ago.

"This gives him a chance to really gauge where his game rates in the opinions of NBA personnel," Pearl said.