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UCLA BASKETBALL

Kansas Transfer Decides on Louisville

June 13, 2004|Steve Henson

UCLA lost out on another basketball player Coach Ben Howland had been recruiting when Kansas center David Padgett decided Saturday to transfer to Louisville.

Padgett, who started 19 games for the Jayhawks as a freshman last season, visited UCLA and Louisville in the last month.

"It was a tough decision between two great choices," said Debbie Padgett, David's mother. "Coach Howland is a great guy. It was very difficult. Louisville just felt to David like a better fit."

Padgett averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds last season.

Since UCLA went 11-17 in his first season, Howland has had difficulty recruiting another player to complement the four high school standouts who signed last fall. UCLA was in the hunt for McDonald's All-American forward Malik Hairston, who decided to attend Oregon, and 7-foot center Robert Rothbart of Sacramento, who chose Indiana.

Howland has said he does not intend to sign another high school player this summer, but Padgett was another story.

He left Kansas because he wanted to play forward, and Howland could have accommodated him.

Trevor Ariza, a starter at forward last season as a freshman, left UCLA to become a professional. Ariza is projected by scouting services as a late second-round pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

Bruin swingman Dijon Thompson also made himself available for the NBA draft but can return because he has not signed with an agent.

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-- Steve Henson

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