Washington returning for senior season

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- Arkansas junior forward Michael Washington is returning to school for his senior season after officially removing his name from the NBA Draft list, head coach John Pelphrey announced on Wednesday.

The 2009 Southeastern Conference rebounding champion submitted his name to the NBA on April 17, but was able to withdraw after not signing with an agent. He had until June 15 to take his name out of the pool.

“He’s coming back,” Pelphrey says. “We worked with Michael and the NBA to gather information and help him make an informed decision. It was beneficial for him to go through that process. Michael has worked hard this off-season, and he wants to come back to further his education and help us build toward a championship. He is a big part of our team and we are happy to have him back.”

Washington, a 6-9, 239-pounder from McGehee, earned second-team All-Southeastern Conference honors from both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press. He also earned All-District 21 honors from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and All-District VII honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association.

In his first season as a starter, he led the SEC in rebounding (9.8), was ninth in scoring (15.5), third in field goal percentage (.551), eighth in blocked shots (1.3), second in offensive rebounding (3.5) and second in defensive rebounding (6.3).

He is Arkansas’ first conference rebounding champion since the Hogs had a three-year hold on the position with Derek Hood in 1997 (8.0), Nick Davis in 1998 (9.8) and Hood again in 1999 (10.3).

Washington led the team in scoring 13 times and in rebounding 21 times. He had 22 double-figure scoring games and 14 double-figure rebounding games with 12 double-doubles, the most for a Razorback since Hood set the school record with 18 in 1999. Washington also had nine 20-point games.