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Originally published March 8, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Page modified March 8, 2010 at 8:49 PM

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Seattle U.'s Charles Garcia will enter NBA draft

Seattle U. star forward Charles Garcia, a junior who averaged 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds, will enter the NBA draft.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Seattle University standout junior forward Charles Garcia announced Monday he will declare for the NBA draft at the end of the season.

The announcement was made in a statement released by the school.

Garcia said in the statement that it has "always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA."

Garcia will hire an agent. Once he does that, there would be no chance he could return to Seattle U. for his senior season.

Garcia had long been thought headed toward the draft as his stock rose quickly in November and December with a string of good performances that had some projecting him as a first-rounder.

Garcia cooled a bit later in the year but still ended the regular season averaging 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds. And at 6 feet 10, his size and ball-handling ability intrigue scouts.

"There may be a handful of players in the country who have as much upside as Charles," Seattle U. coach Cameron Dollar said in the statement. "I am extremely proud of how he has grown and developed throughout the year. I support his decision 100 percent and look forward to watching him reach his tremendous potential in the NBA. I will be forever grateful for all he has done for the university and our basketball program."

Seattle U. is 17-14 and Dollar is hoping for a spot in one of the postseason tournaments other than the NCAA, such as the NIT, the College Basketball Invitational or the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Seattle U. will learn its postseason fate Sunday when the tournament committees release their selections.

Garcia, a native of Los Angeles, signed with Washington in November 2008 but was denied admission to the school last spring for academic reasons, though he was eligible by NCAA standards.

He then enrolled at Seattle U. to play for Dollar, who as an assistant at Washington had helped recruit him for the Huskies.

If drafted, Garcia would be the first Seattle University player to be selected since Jawann Oldham and Carl Ervin were taken in the 1980 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets (fourth round) and the Sonics (seventh round).

Seattle University has had 27 players selected in the draft.

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Notes

• Seattle U. will play in the 2010 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in November. Brackets for the tournament, which will feature Pittsburgh, Maryland, Texas and Illinois, will be announced later.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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