All-America forward Billy Owens is giving up his final year of eligibility at Syracuse University to enter the NBA draft.

"I feel I'm ready for the next level," the 6-foot-9 junior said Tuesday at a news conference. But Owens, flanked by his father and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, said the decision to turn pro was a hard one."I like Syracuse," he said. "I like playing in the Dome. I like the basketball atmosphere. I'm not going to get that on an expansion team . . . I liked being in the spotlight."

Owens said he's a Laker fan, but doesn't care where he ends up next season. He'll be nervous his first games in the NBA, he said, but looks forward to going up against the likes of Los Angeles' Magic Johnson.

"It's going to be like a dream come true to play against Magic," he said, laughing. "I think when I play against him, I'll be nervous."

Owens averaged 23.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.2 blocked shots last season and was named the Big East Conference's player of the year. He is expected to be a top choice in the NBA draft, along with UNLV's Larry Johnson, Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson and Georgetown's Dikembe Mutombo.