Krauser might pass on senior season

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh point guard Carl Krauser is making himself available for the NBA draft, but will not hire an agent in case he changes his mind and returns to school.

Krauser, the Panthers' leading scorer as a junior last season, could become the second current Pitt player to leave before using up his eligibility. Sophomore center Chris Taft hired an agent last week -- a move that guarantees he cannot return to Pitt -- and will enter the June 28 draft.

Krauser hopes to get an invitation to the NBA pre-draft camp June 7-10 at Chicago's Moody Bible Institute, a session that often proves important to a player's fate in the draft.

"I'm going to leave my options open," Krauser said. "I'm going to try to get into the Chicago camp and see what happens."

If Krauser is not invited to the camp or does poorly, he can withdraw by June 21 and retain his college eligibility. He said he wants to play only in the NBA, and has little interest in playing in a developmental league or in Europe.

Krauser turns 24 next month -- relatively old by college basketball standards -- and has hinted for weeks he might not return for his senior season. After Pitt's 79-71 loss to Pacific in the NCAA Tournament last month, Krauser all but said he would turn pro, saying, "It's about time for me to grow up."

"The only reason I would come back is to play with these guys again and to play for these coaches and get another Big East championship ring and a national championship ring, if possible," Krauser said.

Krauser entered Pitt as a partial qualifier, so he must graduate this year to be eligible for the 2005-06 season. Coach Jamie Dixon said Krauser is on schedule to graduate.

"He wants to see where he stands with the NBA draft
possibilities," Dixon said Tuesday. "He has expressed a desire
not to retain an agent and have the opportunity to return to the
University of Pittsburgh. We support him in his goals while he
finishes up requirements for graduation.

While NBA scouts say Taft should be a Top 10 pick, the 6-foot-2 Krauser is seen as a likely second-rounder. He is an excellent passer and floor leader, but an erratic 3-point shooter who sometimes monopolizes the ball, thus limiting his team's offensive options.