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Originally published April 1, 2012 at 8:08 PM | Page modified April 1, 2012 at 11:03 PM

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Huskies' Terrence Ross takes his talents to the next level

No word yet as to whether Tony Wroten will follow Ross into the NBA draft.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Maybe Washington fans knew they were watching Terrence Ross' last home game for the Huskies when they showered him with applause as he walked off the Edmundson Pavilion court two weeks ago.

"One more year," they shouted after his extraordinary performance helped UW to a victory over Oregon in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinals.

The sophomore guard grinned sheepishly and admitted the praise made him uncomfortable.

When asked about the NBA, he said his focus was on winning games at Washington and said he would think about turning pro when the season ends.

Ross said Sunday he plans to enter the NBA draft, a decision announced five days after the Huskies were eliminated in the NIT semifinals. With it, Ross' two-year career at UW comes to an end.

It remains to be seen how his decision will impact freshman guard Tony Wroten Jr., who also is considering leaving Washington to apply for the draft.

A new NCAA rule requires underclassmen to make a decision by April 10, while the NBA's deadline is April 29.

Ross, however, made his decision sooner than many expected.

"I discussed the pros and the cons with my family and I just think this is a great step for me and it's time for me to take my game to the next level," he said in a statement released by the school. "On the court, off the court, with school and in life. ... It's just been a real blessing to consider myself a Husky and get to where I am right now."

The 6-foot-6, 195-pounder fulfilled lofty promise this season after an inconsistent debut as a freshman backup.

The Huskies needed him to mature quickly, but it took Ross a little while to adjust to a starring role.

During the Pac-12 season, he had several big scoring nights.

He tallied 30 points — including 26 in the second half — against Washington State and had three 20-plus scoring performances.

Ross earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors and ranked among conference leaders in eight categories: points (16.4, fourth), rebounds (6.4, sixth), offensive rebounds (5.1, third), free-throw percentage (.766, 11th), steals (1.3, 12th), three-pointers (2.1, eighth), three-point field-goal percentage (.371, 14th) and blocks (0.9, 13th).

He led Washington in scoring and finished with 574 points, which is tied for ninth on UW's season list. He also was second on the team in minutes, rebounds, steals, three-pointers, three-point field goal percentage and blocks.

Ross saved his best for the final three weeks of the season while starring in the NIT.

He averaged 25 points during four tournament games, including a career-high 32 points against Northwestern and 24 in his final game at home.

He also averaged 5.5 rebounds and sank 15 three-pointers and shot 40.5 percent from behind the arc.

In his final UW game, Ross scored a game-high 21 points in the overtime defeat against Minnesota last week at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Following that game, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar was uncertain of Ross' decision, but was certain his future was bright at Washington if he returned to school.

"Terrence could be a national player of the year candidate next season," he said. "That's where he is. In truth, I don't believe he can make a bad decision at this point. I really don't. It's up to him to decide what he wants to do."

Romar, who is in New Orleans for the Final Four, wanted to sit down with Ross and his mother, Marcine, this week and discuss his pro potential.

Washington requested an evaluation of Ross and Wroten from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which gives draft prospects feedback from NBA front-office executives and scouts.

In all likelihood, the committee reaffirmed the various mock drafts, which project Ross will be taken midway in the June draft.

ESPN's Chad Ford ranks Ross 20th among the top 100 NBA prospects. Draft Express projects he'll be the No. 18 choice, while ESPN and NBADraft.net believe he'll selected at No. 19.

In the Romar era, Ross is the fifth Husky to leave school early. Doug Wrenn went undrafted in 2003; Nate Robinson (2005) and Spencer Hawes (2007) were first-round selections; and Isaiah Thomas (2011) was taken last in the second round.

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @percyallen.

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