Duke paper reports Avery, Brand to leave early for NBA draft

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke sophomores Elton Brand and William Avery plan to leave college for the NBA draft, the student newspaper reported.
“Nobody has told me it is true,” Mike Cragg, Duke’s sports information director, said Monday. “In these two cases, we are planning on having a press conference on whatever they decide, if they decide to leave or if they decide to stay.”
The Duke Chronicle cited unidentified sources close to the basketball team who said Brand and Avery would become the first Duke players to leave the university early for a professional career.
Attempts to reach Brand and Avery, along with associate head coach Johnny Dawkins, were unsuccessful.
Another source said freshman Corey Maggette remains undecided about his future, The Chronicle said.
Avery has met with coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is recovering from hip replacement surgery, The Chronicle reported. The newspaper said Krzyzewski is unaware of Avery’s final decision.
CNN-SI reported last week that Brand, an All-American and the AP player of the year, would hold a news conference this week to say he was turning pro.
The loss of Brand and Avery, coupled with the graduation of seniors Trajan Langdon and Taymon Domzalski, would cost Duke much of the core of the 37-2 team that reached the NCAA championship, where the Blue Devils lost to Connecticut.
The Chronicle’s sources said Brand and Avery both were spurred to turn pro partly by the favorable publicity they received this past season.
Underclassmen have until May 15 to announce their intentions.