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      Wes Johnson to enter NBA draft

      Wes Johnson / file photo

      Syracuse Orange forward Wesley Johnson, the Big East player of the year, will enter the NBA draft this spring.

      The junior transfer from Iowa State announced his intentions at the Carmelo Anthony Basketball Center Monday afternoon and says he plans to hire an agent. Johnson averaged a team-leading 16.5 points and 8.5 rebounds while starting all 35 games this past season.

      The 22-year-old Johnson said at the news conference that he "went back and forth every day" about his decision to enter the draft since the end of the season last month, but finally decided today to declare his status. He told reporters that it was a hard decision to leave SU, but he couldn't pass up his dream of playing in the NBA.

      Johnson was named an All-American by the Associated Press,, National Association of Basketball Coaches, The Sporting News, United States Basketball Writers Association, Wooden Award, and Yahoo! Sports. He was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, presented each year by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the top college basketball player in the nation. He was also a contender for the Wooden Award and the Oscar Robertson Trophy, presented to the nation's top player by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

      He also helped the Orange to a 30-5 overall record, the Big East Conference regular-season championship, and a berth in the NCAA tournament this past season. Syracuse advanced to the "Sweet 16" before losing to eventual national championship game participant Butler. The Orange were ranked #1 in the nation near the end of the regular season.

      Johnson is considered a top prospect for the June draft, and is a near-consensus to land somewhere among the first five selections. Former SU point guard Jonny Flynn was drafted #6 overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves last year, and is nearing completion of an up and down rookie campaign.

      Information from the Associated Press and SU Athletics was used in this report.