Tyus eyeing NBA draft

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida could have another player leaving early.

Forward Alex Tyus, the team's leading rebounder, plans to make himself eligible for the NBA draft. The junior from St. Louis has not filed early entry paperwork, but team spokesman Fred Demarest said Wednesday he plans to do so this week.

Tyus doesn't plan to hire an agent, meaning he will have until May 8 to withdraw his name and return to school for his senior season. The Gainesville Sun first reported Tyus' decision.

Tyus is the latest in a long list of players to leave Florida early in recent years. Guard Ray Shipman announced his intention to transfer two weeks ago, becoming the eighth player to leave coach Billy Donovan's program in the last two years.

Center Marreese Speights, forward Jonathan Mitchell and guard Jai Lucas left the program following the 2008 season. Guard Nick Calathes, forward Allan Chaney, center Eloy Vargas and DeShawn Painter left in 2009.

Tyus could be next.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pounder averaged 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds this season. It's unclear whether he would even get drafted since he has struggled to play defense and is considered too small to play power forward in the NBA. It's also unlikely he would improve his draft stock by staying in school.

Tyus was in a similarly indecisive situation last year. He announced last April he was leaving the Gators and transferring, but he changed his mind about a week later.

He has started 70 consecutive games for Florida, which has center Vernon Macklin and forwards Chandler Parsons and Erik Murphy returning this fall. The Gators also could have center Kenny Kadji back after he missed most of this season with a back injury.

Donovan has highly touted forwards Patric Young and Casey Prather arriving on campus this summer, giving him plenty of frontcourt depth with or without Tyus.