NIU's Silas withdraws from NBA draft

Northern Illinois junior guard Xavier Silas has pulled his name out of the NBA draft and will return to the Huskies for his senior season.

"We talked to a couple friends who are affiliated with the league, and they said if I went back and had a good year in all aspects of the game, I could be a first-rounder," Silas said on Thursday. "That's better than chancing it this year."

Silas had until May 8 to make his decision, but he chose to withdraw early because he could only begin talking to NBA teams on April 29 and his school finals were approaching.

"I'm just going to focus on next year," he said. "It helps knowing now what I have to work on and knowing what I need to do.

"I know winning at the same time has a lot to do with it. If I can't help Northern Illinois win, how am I going to help the Knicks win or the Lakers win?"

The Huskies went 10-20 during Silas' junior season.

Individually, Silas, a 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard, was among the MAC's top players this past season as he averaged 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.5 blocks and 0.8 steals per game.

Silas wasn't able to do much during his short time with his name in the draft. He did not train in San Francisco, as he planned, opting instead to stay at Northern Illinois to work out. The one asset he was able to use was his father, James Silas, a former ABA and NBA player, who had a variety of NBA contacts.

"It was a help having him around and with the people he knows," Silas said. "I could get the information from the people he knew. I was told I had to become a better defender. I've proven I can score. I need to step up my passing, rebounding, hustling and other aspects.

"I was trying to test the waters, and that's what I did and saw what people were thinking. Now knowing what I need to work on is a good feeling. Nothing was lost. It's just information was gained."

Silas also announced he accepted an invitation to play in China with a traveling team of college players in May.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.