CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — University of North Carolina junior forward J. R. Reid said today that he will turn professional and give up his final year of college eligibility.
"I have to do what's best for J. R. Reid," he said at a press conference.
Reid said he convinced his mother that turning pro was best for him after he promised her that he would obtain his degree next year.
Playing his senior year at North Carolina under Coach Dean Smith would have been fun, Reid said, but he had to what was best for him. He said he wanted to be available for the National Basketball Assn. draft next month.
Reid, a 6-foot, 9-inch junior from Virginia Beach, Va., must declare in writing by Saturday that he will enter the June 27 draft.
Reid will become the fourth UNC junior to go to the NBA a year early. Michael Jordan, James Worthy and Robert McAdoo also went early. Like Reid, Jordan and Worthy did so after being advised by Smith.
Reid played on the 1988 U.S. Olympic team. He was a consensus All-American as a sophomore, a freshman All-American and a consensus high-school All-American at Kempsville High School in Virginia Beach, Va. However, he failed to make the All-ACC team last season.
Reid missed nine games with a foot injury. When he returned, he did not start until late in the season. He averaged 15.9 points and 6.3 rebounds and saw his playing time trimmed in Smith's rotation system.
Some NBA officials say Reid's pro stock has dipped in the last year.
Reid was named the most valuable player in the ACC tournament as the Tar Heels captured their first title since 1982, but he was suspended for one game during the NCAA tournament after missing a team curfew. He then responded with one of his best efforts of the season, scoring 26 points in a loss to Michigan.
There have been questions about Reid's shooting range and his reliance on the short one-hander and jump-hook.