University of Maryland power forward Chris Wilcox must decide within four weeks whether to forgo his final two years of collegiate eligibility and enter the NBA draft, and the mother of the 6-foot-10 sophomore said her son is in no rush to make an announcement.
"I want Christopher to have time to himself to enjoy this. He's listening to what people have to say," said Debra Brown, Wilcox's mother. "People are saying different things, good and bad. He wants to take it all in, then we can probably make a decision in five minutes. Whatever decision he makes, I'm going to be supportive of it."
Brown, who said she and her son met separately with Maryland coach Gary Williams last week, added her son might declare for the June 26 draft without hiring an agent. Using that strategy, Wilcox could withdraw from the draft by June 19 and return to College Park for his junior year. Underclassmen must enter the draft by May 12.
Williams, who did not return phone calls after meeting with Brown on Friday, has said he wants Wilcox to improve his skills and professional standing by playing one more season for the defending national champion Terps. Should Wilcox leave early, Maryland will have lost four starters from its 32-4 squad.
"It was a wonderful talk. Coach Williams just told me we had time to decide, and that whenever the time came to let him know," Brown said. "Some people are saying [Wilcox] is a definite lottery pick; some are saying he is the 11th pick or whatever. All we're doing is listening."
Sources close to Wilcox said he is planning to skip the rest of his collegiate career, provided he is certain to be selected as a lottery pick in the draft. NBA league sources have said Wilcox would be among the first 13 picks.
Wilcox helped Maryland win its first national championship by averaging 12 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots during a season in which he started 26 of 36 games and averaged 24.1 minutes of playing time.
One NBA official said Wilcox sealed his lottery-pick status by averaging 14 points, eight rebounds and 2.5 blocks in Maryland's Final Four victories over Kansas and Indiana. In those games, Wilcox outplayed Kansas junior and first-team All-American Drew Gooden and Indiana sophomore and Big Ten Player of the Year Jared Jeffries, who already has announced his plan to enter the draft.
"[Wilcox] needs to shoot with more range and he doesn't play as consistently as he needs to at times," said Chris Monter, the editor of Monter Draft News and College Basketball News. "But he runs the floor and finishes so well and has so much ability and upside. He'd be a definite lottery pick."
NOTE: Allegany College sophomore forward Jamar Smith has signed a letter of intent to play for Maryland, thus completing the Terps' 2002 recruiting class.
Smith, 6-9 and 225 pounds, could play either forward position this fall. He averaged 17.9 points and 12.8 rebounds last season.