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After flirting with draft, Collison staying put

After flirting with draft, Collison staying put

After flirting with draft, Collison staying put

One week after meeting with UCLA head coach Ben Howland to determine his playing future, Bruins point guard Darren Collison has decided to remain at the school for his junior season.

UCLA reserve junior big man Ryan Wright, who played sparingly in his two seasons with the Bruins, has decided to transfer.

Wright, who hails from Ontario, Canada, averaged 1.3 points and 0.9 rebounds per game this season.

"After speaking with my family and thinking about it for a long time, I feel that at this point in my career, the best thing for me to do is to explore other opportunities," Wright said in a statement released by the school. "The coaching staff has helped me improve as a player and grow as a man and I am thankful to them for that. My teammates made me feel at home and I have a lot of great memories from my time here at UCLA."

Wright will continue to work out with the team in the spring.

"Ryan is an outstanding young man and we appreciate what he has done for this program over the past two years," UCLA coach Ben Howland said in a statement released by the school. "He worked hard every day, showed great improvement and was an important part of our run to back-to-back Final Four appearances. We wish him nothing but the best."

The Bruins' 6-foot point guard, who emerged as one of the top floor leaders in the country this past season, met with Howland last Wednesday, then used the weekend to discuss the possibility of turning pro with his family before ultimately deciding to return to Westwood, according to a source close to the situation.

Collison averaged 12.7 points, 5.7 assists and shot 45 percent from long distance this past season. And in doing so, he somehow managed to make UCLA fans forget about Jordan Farmar.

Collison's return means that Howland and the Bruins have a legitimate chance to get back to the Final Four for a third consecutive season. UCLA was 32-7 this past season and lost to Florida in the national semifinals.

UCLA will return everyone except for Collison's backcourt mate, All-American Arron Afflalo, and the Bruins will add incoming freshman center Kevin Love, arguably the best big man in the senior class.

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