A source close to USC freshman Davon Jefferson emphatically said Thursday that the 6-foot-8 forward would return for his sophomore season instead of declaring for the NBA draft.
"He is not declaring for the draft," said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He has not hired an agent nor will he hire an agent. He looks forward to going back to USC and is 100% committed to the team."
The source said that Jefferson, the Trojans' second-leading scorer who averaged 12.1 points and 6.3 rebounds, would not attend the pre-draft camp May 27-29 in Orlando, Fla., to assess his NBA stock and learn which aspects of his game could use improvement.
Neither Jefferson nor USC Coach Tim Floyd could immediately be reached for comment.
One NBA executive who has seen Jefferson play multiple times this season said he would be best served by returning for another year.
"If he doesn't come out," the executive said, "people will expect him to improve his ball-handling, have a move in the low post and if he doesn't they'll start beating him up. You want to come out when everyone's looking at the positives and overlooking the negatives."
Jefferson is projected as the No. 17 overall pick in the 2009 draft by nbadraft.net.
He was selected to the All-Pacific 10 Conference freshman team after a season in which he started 25 games and scored in double figures 19 times. He ranked seventh on the school's all-time freshman list in points (351), third in field-goal percentage (57.5) and fourth in rebounds (182).
Jefferson's breakthrough performance came in a 25-point, nine-rebound effort during USC's 72-63 victory over UCLA on Jan. 19. He scored 15 points and had six rebounds during the Trojans' 80-67 loss to Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA tournament on March 20.
Two other Trojans are facing decisions about their future. Freshman guard O.J. Mayo, USC's leading scorer, is expected to become a lottery pick and sophomore forward Taj Gibson appears to be weighing his options after announcing at the team banquet Monday that he would return next season.