Tide's Steele to Explore NBA Options

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's Ronald Steele, one of college basketball's top point guards, wants to get an idea of where he stands with the NBA after missing last season following three knee operations.

Steele said yesterday he will submit his name to the NBA draft but won't hire an agent, leaving open the option of returning for his senior season.

Steele received a redshirt last season, sitting out to recuperate from arthroscopic surgery on both knees in April 2007 and a follow-up procedure on his left knee in August.

The injuries had hobbled the preseason AP All-American as a junior. Steele rejoined the team for practice in late December.

Another Tide point guard, freshman Rico Pickett, said Monday that he plans to transfer because he was unhappy with Gottfried and his staff over playing time and disciplinary actions.

Steel joins forward Richard Hendrix, who also is exploring his NBA draft status while keeping the door open to return for his senior season.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)