It’s official: Josh Shipp is coming back

Brian has mentioned this several times, but today it became official: Josh Shipp is coming back to UCLA. Here’s the official release:

UCLA forward Josh Shipp has signed paperwork to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and will play his senior season for the Bruins, UCLA head basketball coach Ben Howland announced today.

“Josh has been an integral part of our three Final Four runs and I am really excited that he is coming back for his senior year,” said Howland. “I expect him to have his best year as a Bruin, and not just because of his talent, but because this is the first summer in the last three that he can focus on his game as opposed to having to rehab from hip surgery.

“I think that with Josh, Darren (Collison) and Alfred (Aboya) we have a great core group of seniors. This will be the first time in the last three seasons that we have had more than one senior and I think that senior leadership is very important.”

As a junior, Shipp held the Bruins compile a record of 35-4 en route to their third straight Pac-10 title and third consecutive trip to the Final Four. He was the only player to start all 39 games – a school record – and averaged 12.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He also ranked second on the squad with his .770 free throw percentage.

“I am glad I went through this process. It gave me the opportunity to get input and prepare my body and my game for the next level,” said Shipp.

“But at the end of the day, I wanted to come back and make another run for the championship. We’ve been close a three times and a goal of mine is to win the NCAA championship. I think with our core of seniors, we have the leadership necessary to make another run for the title and I’m looking forward to next season.”

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    The ship set out to sea and we assumed we would never see it again. But behold mates, I think I see it returning home. Or maybe it is me eyes deceiving me. No, it is a ship. Well, no, I think it is a Shipp. Welcome home, Shipp. Now, turn ucla from being the Buffalo Bills of sports, into a champion.