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June 11, 2009

Archie will return for senior season

Dominique Archie emphatically denied any rumors that he was considering going overseas to play professionally in the best way he could.

"Going into the process, I fully expected to come back to school, but it was good for me to get insight and feedback throughout the workouts," Archie said in a statement on Thursday, when he announced he was withdrawing from the NBA Draft to return to South Carolina. "I'm very excited about my senior season and the direction that our team is headed."

Archie ended almost two months of suspense with only four days until the Monday deadline for withdrawing, spending the time working out for NBA teams and getting all the information he could about staying in the draft. After at least two workouts and apparently hearing from the NBA and the foreign leagues about his potential status, Archie decided to come back.

His return immediately bolsters a Gamecock lineup that was on shaky ground when he declared. USC's second-leading returning scorer with 10.9 points, Archie cements USC's frontcourt along with fellow returnees Mike Holmes and Sam Muldrow.

The only question now is how firm that ground will be. Point guard Devan Downey, working out for the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, has yet to make a decision about his NBA future. The team's leading scorer for the past two years, Downey's return to school may mean the difference between a winning and losing season in 2009-10.

Archie's presence will at least ensure coach Darrin Horn's defensive system will be intact. The rising senior was second on the team with 6.4 rebounds per game last year and also averaged 1.2 blocks. He was named to the SEC's all-defensive team and to the second all-conference team by the league's coaches.

Archie is only 59 points shy of 1,000 for his USC career. He has started every one of the 93 games he's played in.

"We're very glad that Dominique was able to go through the process of working out with teams and gaining the feedback from NBA personnel," Horn said in the same statement. "We look forward to having him back as a Gamecock for one more season."

Archie's withdrawal continued a trend of SEC upperclassmen who are returning to school. Kentucky's Patrick Patterson, Arkansas' Michael Washington, LSU's Tasmin Mitchell, Tennessee's Tyler Smith and Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado each tested the NBA process and decided to come back to college.

Florida's Nick Calathes was the only underclassman to leave, although he withdrew from the NBA Draft in order to play professionally in Greece. Downey and Kentucky's Jodie Meeks still have until Monday to withdraw.



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