Shakur to return for senior season

Point guard Mustafa Shakur (left) announced last week he will return to Arizona for his senior season after withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft. Shakur averaged 11.2 points and 4.7 assists last season.

Point guard Mustafa Shakur (left) announced last week he will return to Arizona for his senior season after withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft. Shakur averaged 11.2 points and 4.7 assists last season.

Roman Veytsman

Men’s Hoops Notes

It’s official.

Following a few months of weighing his options, point guard Mustafa Shakur will return for his senior season after withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft on Sunday, the last day to do so.

Shakur, who started throughout his first three seasons at Arizona, was projected to either be a late second round pick or go undrafted by most draft prognosticators.

“”It came down to a lot of the (general managers) saying with another year of playing and working on his shooting form, he would be in the first round,”” said Shakur’s brother, Mujahid Shakur.

Mujahid said Mustafa plans on working out in Philadelphia before coming back to Tucson for Summer Session II in order to catch up on school he missed because of he declared early April 12.

Shakur averaged 11.2 points and 4.7 assists last season, while shooting 42.3 percent from the field, but “”everything comes down to his jump shot,”” according to Mujahid, who said Mustafa plans to hire a shooting coach for his senior season.

With an unorthodox release where he brings the ball down slightly before uncorking a slightly awkward release from near his face, Shakur has sometimes been inconsistent shooting from the perimeter.

According to sources who saw Shakur’s workouts, he shot the ball well during practice but struggled mightily during games at the pre-draft camp in Orlando.

“”There was no chance of him getting drafted,”” said Aran Smith, the founder of NBADraft.net.

Memphis General Manager Jerry West and New York head coach Larry Brown both told Shakur to go back to school, and West said he’s a lock for the first round next year by returning to school, according to Mujahid.

Next year’s starting lineup figures to have Shakur at point guard, senior Ivan Radenovic and sophomore Marcus Williams at the forward positions, senior Kirk Walters at center and a healthy redshirt sophomore Jawann McClellan alongside Shakur in the backcourt.

Highly touted incoming freshman forward Chase Budinger will have a very strong chance to earn a starting position before the season starts, likely at the expense of Walters. That would cause Arizona to go small, a strategy Olson has often employed in the past.

Mujahid said that having a Hall of Fame coach in Olson and a chance to win a national championship contributed to his brother’s decision as well.

“”We are happy to have Mustafa back,”” Olson said in a press release. “”I think he has a better idea of the things he needs to do to make it as a professional.ÿWhen I spoke with him, he was excited about being back with his teammates and the possibilities for next season. Mustafa will provide a great deal of leadership for us.””

Freshman forward Marcus Williams received a phone call from assistant coach Miles Simon while Williams was in Seattle and heard the news.

“”I think it gives us more talent and it makes the team better,”” Williams said.

“”He always has a place here. The more experience there is on the floor, the better it is.””

Budinger takes MVP honors at Junior World Championships

Budinger averaged a tournament-leading 23.8 points per game and earned MVP honors on his way to leading Team USA to a 107-78 victory over Turkey in the championship game at the Nike Douai Junior World Championships last week in Douai, France.

“”That’s something we can expect,”” assistant coach Josh Pastner said. “”He has tremendous basketball IQ, and one of the things he’s really improving on is his leadership skills.””

The high-flying Budinger also won the dunk contest following the tournament and left coach Lindsey Davis impressed with his overall game.

“”He was the best player to ever play in that tournament, which has included (San Antonio guard) Tony Parker, (Denver forward) Carmelo Anthony and (Utah forward Andrei) Kirilenko,”” Davis said.

“”I thought he shot the ball extremely well and his ability to put the ball on the floor and jump over people made him very difficult for people to defend.””

Davis said Budinger is not a yeller or screamer but leads in other ways.

“”He’s what I would call a quiet leader,”” he said. “”I’m sure Arizona will look for him to be a little bit more vocal, but he leads quietly and he leads by example.””

Incoming freshman guard Nic Wise also played on the squad and garnered enough votes for second team All-Tournament honors.

“”Nic Wise is going to be a tremendous asset for Arizona,”” Davis said. “”He knows how to run a basketball team, plays extremely hard, takes care of the basketball, distributes, defends and can score on the inside and outside.””