NBA draft not an option for Terps' Francis, yet Junior college transfer not among early entries


The NBA released its official list of early-entry candidates for the draft yesterday, and Maryland fans were relieved to find that Steve Francis wasn't on it.

Francis, a first-team junior college All-American for Allegany Community College, signed a letter of intent with the Terps last month. The 6-foot-3 1/2 , 193-pound guard had considered filing for early entry for the draft, but he will instead continue his career in College Park.

Francis was unavailable to comment. He said last month that were he to play for Maryland, early entry after the 1998-99 season is a strong likelihood. He can start at either the point or shooting guard positions, and the addition of Francis probably will make the Terps the preseason No. 2 choice in the Atlantic Coast Conference, behind Duke.

A native of Silver Spring who didn't play high school basketball as a junior and senior, Francis starred at San Jacinto Junior College in Texas in 1996-97, and transferred to Allegany last summer. He led both teams to unbeaten regular seasons.

Francis had sought counsel from the NBA's Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which grades the draft prospects of early-entry candidates who have NCAA eligibility remaining. He said that the possibility of being taken in the first round would lead him to apply for early entry, but no junior college player has ever been selected that high.

Only two junior college players have been drafted as high as the second round, and neither played in the NBA this past season.

Francis averaged 25.3 points, 8.8 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 5.3 steals. His totals of 885 points, 187 steals and 204 free throws made are all Allegany records.

Pub Date: 5/16/98

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