South Carolina's Balkman declares for draft

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina forward Renaldo Balkman declared himself eligible for the NBA draft Thursday, though he has not hired an agent.

The 6-foot-8 junior hopes his performance in the NIT, where he was the MVP as the Gamecocks won their second straight championship, opened the eyes of NBA personnel.

However, since Balkman hasn't hired an agent, he can still withdraw from the draft and return for his final season with the Gamecocks.

Balkman averaged 9.6 points and 6.3 rebounds this past season, though he played very well at the end of the season. He had three games with double-figure points and rebounds as lightly regarded South Carolina reached the finals of the Southeastern Conference tournament and then won the NIT.

Gamecocks coach Dave Odom said Balkman was told by an NBA advisory committee that he could go somewhere in the middle of the second round or after.