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'Cats' Mohammed declares for draft

Nazr Mohammed, whose shot blocking and rebounding helped lead Kentucky to the NCAA basketball championship game, said Monday he will forgo his senior season and enter the NBA draft.

Mohammed, a 6-foot-10 center, said he will not hire an agent so he can protect his college eligibility in case he changes his mind before the June draft. He has until seven days before the draft to withdraw his name and return for a final year.

"I'm in a great situation where I can explore my options," Mohammed said at a news conference, seated alongside coach Tubby Smith.

Marty Blake, NBA director of scouting, said Smith contacted the league about Mohammed's potential. Blake said he told Smith: "The guy's not ready to play."

Another season of college ball would help Mohammed in virtually every respect _ educationally, emotionally, physically, artistically and financially, Blake also told Smith.

Mohammed led Kentucky with a 7.2 rebounding average and 75 blocked shots. He hit 60 percent of his shots.

MORE COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Former Cincinnati point guard Charles Williams, suspended for NCAA rules violations, sued the school and asked for at least $175,000 in damages. Williams, suspended for all but the final six games of last season, alleges the university was negligent in failing to follow NCAA rules. He was ruled ineligible because he received academic benefits that violated rules. He also received an airline ticket and other assistance from a professor.

PRO FOOTBALL: Former Buffalo Bills special teams standout Steve Tasker joined CBS as an analyst.

YACHTING: Baltimore-based Chessie Racing led the Whitbread Round the World Race fleet out of Chesapeake Bay. The eighth leg is a 3,390-mile dash across the Atlantic from Annapolis, Md., to La Rochelle, France, where the fleet is expected May 16.

SOCCER: More tests were being carried out to determine the cause of death of former English star Justin Fashanu, who was wanted in the United States on charges of sexually assaulting a teenage boy. Fashanu, 36, was found dead Saturday in London in what police believe was suicide by hanging. An autopsy proved inconclusive.

BOXING: British Sports Minister Tony Banks rejected renewed calls to ban the sport as bantamweight Spencer Oliver remained in critical condition with brain injuries. Oliver was knocked out by Sergei Devakov in the 10th round of his European super bantamweight title defense at Royal Albert Hall on Saturday.

COLLEGES: Georgia's Kim Arnold, the NCAA all-around gymnastics champion and co-champion on the balance beam, won the Honda Award as the top college athlete in her sport for the second straight year.

_ Compiled from Times wires.

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