USC's Young passes on senior year, turns pro

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California's Nick Young decided to
pass up his senior season and enter the NBA draft because of what
it means to his family.

"I want to buy my mom her first house. That's one of the main
reasons I made this decision," Young said Tuesday at a news
conference on campus. "It was tough for us. They've been behind me
all the way.

"The opportunity was there to help them have a better life.
It's a blessing. I'm very grateful for everything that's going

Young, the sixth-leading scorer in USC history, said he will
hire an agent, making his decision irrevocable. His parents,
Charles and Mae Young, attended the news conference.

"I think he did the right thing, it's the right thing to come
out now," Young's father said.

"Wherever he plays, they'd better get ready because here I
come," Mrs. Young said. "I've got a lot to shout about."

The 21-year-old junior said he spoke with several people,
including USC coach Tim Floyd and his assistants; his high school
coach, his parents, his brother and his Trojans teammates.

"Nick has played well enough to receive consideration from the
NBA," Floyd said in a statement. "He has our support and we wish
him the best."

Floyd was on a recruiting trip and didn't attend the news

Young averaged 17.5 points and 4.6 rebounds this season, scoring
in double figures in USC's last 25 games.

He led the Trojans into the NCAA tournament for the first time
in five years and scored 20 points in a 77-60 first-round victory
over Arkansas; 22 in an 87-68 second-round triumph over Texas, and
15 in a 74-64 third-round loss to North Carolina.

"What we did last year was very outstanding. I had dreams of
doing it next year," Young said. "It was a tough decision. It was
a tough thing, leaving this program. I just love this program."

The 6-foot-6, 200-pounder scored 1,486 points in 96 games at
USC. He averaged 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds as a freshman and
17.3 points and 6.6 rebounds as a sophomore, and was chosen to the
All Pac-10 first-team the past two years.

Young said he informed Floyd of his decision in a tearful
conversation Sunday.

"Coach Floyd didn't want me to leave, but he said, 'First
round, I'd do the same thing.' It was hard telling him," Young
said. "He's an NBA coach -- he did everything possible to help me
on defense, make me a better man."

Floyd coached the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets before
coming to USC.

Young said he's been told he'll be a first-round pick.

"I've heard anywhere from 12 to 25," he said. "The
opportunity is there for me."

Young played forward and guard at USC. As to his future, he
said: "Everybody's saying a 2-guard. I've got to get ready to
guard Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady."

Young said he plans to return to school and graduate.

"Oh, yeah, most definitely. I want to come back and get my
degree," he said.

Gabe Pruitt, a junior who averaged 12.4 points and 4.2 assists
for the Trojans last season, said he's thinking about declaring for
the draft, and might not make a decision until the April 29

"Even if I did, I wouldn't hire an agent," he said. "It's a
big decision, I want to make the right one."

If Pruitt declares without hiring an agent, he could return for
his senior year if he withdraws from the draft by June 18.