Recruit isn''t coming

BLAIRSTOWN, N.J.  Charlie Villanueva doesn''t know for sure what his future holds. He only knows it won''t include Illinois. The 6-foot-9 prep star from Blair Academy, who committed to the Illini last fall, said Sunday night that he will enter NBA draft, and that if he should decide to pull out of the draft, he won''t attend Illinois. "It''s nothing against the school," Villanueva said. "I enjoyed Illinois. It''s just tough to go through the whole situation with the coaching change and having Coach (Bill) Self leave for Kansas. It''s like starting all over with the new staff. So Illinois is definitely out of it." Illinois and new coach Bruce Weber might be out of the Villanueva derby, but college isn''t completely out of the realm of possibility. A new rule in place for this year''s draft allows high school players to attend college even after entering the draft. If Villanueva is undrafted or he takes his name out of the draft pool by June 19  and if he doesn''t sign with an agent  he can go to the college of his choice and enter the draft at any point during his college career. If he''s drafted, Villanueva still could go to college, pro-vided he doesn''t sign with an agent. But the NBA team that drafts him would hold his contract rights until a year after he exhausts his college eligibility. "Right now, my focus is entirely on the NBA, and I''m going to do whatever I have to do to make that dream come true," Villanueva said. "But if for some reason things don''t work out like I think they will, I can pull out and go to college." And if he does, there''s a good chance he''d follow the coach to whom he originally committed. Villanueva, a McDonald''s All-American who averaged 18 points and eight rebounds this season, took an official visit to Kansas last week, where he met with Self. He also was considering Connecticut, North Carolina and UCLA. "I definitely want the NBA to work out for me," Villanueva said. "If it doesn''t, I can go the college route, and I would say that either Kansas or UConn would have a pretty good shot at getting me." You can reach Brett Dawson at (217) 373-7422 or via e-mail at bdawson@news-gazette.com.

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