Friday, June 25, 2010

NBA draft takes tall talent from the ACC

The ACC officially got shorter on talent Thursday night – courtesy of the NBA draft.

Four of the league’s top forwards -- Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors (No. 3, by the New Jersey Nets), Wake Forest’s Al-Farouq Aminu (No. 8, Los Angeles Clippers), North Carolina’s Ed Davis (No. 13, Toronto Raptors), and Clemson's Trevor Booker (No. 23, traded from Minnesota to Washington) -- were all chosen in the first round at Madison Square Garden.

In addition, 6-feet-6 Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez was chosen 28th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies -- striding out of the stands to hug commissioner David Stern.

Locally, Duke's Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek, starters on the national championship team who had hoped to be selected in the second round, plus UNC forward Deon Thompson, went undrafted.

Favors, who averaged 12.4 points and 8.4 rebounds as a freshman for the Yellow Jackets last season, was the first ACC player chosen; he extended the league's streak of having at least one first-round draft pick to 22.

Then came Aminu, the only ACC player to average a double-double with 15.8 points and 10.7 rebounds as a sophomore last season. He follows his older brother to the pros – albeit with a much larger contract. Alade Aminu, who played at Georgia Tech, ended up paying his dues in the NBA's Development League this past season before getting called up in March by the Miami Heat.

Aminu joins a struggling franchise in the Clippers, which finished last season with 29-53 record and missed the playoffs for the 15th time in 17 years. But the player took a positive attitude about his destination: “I guess every team has a history either good or bad,'' he said. "When you’re drafted, you just try your best to change it for the good. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Davis, meanwhile, follows in the footsteps of his dad Terry – who played 10 seasons in the NBA after going undrafted in 1989. It marked the eighth straight year that the son of a former NBA player has been drafted. The sophomore averaged 13.4 point and 9.6 rebounds last season for the Tar Heels before missing the last 13 games with a broken left wrist. He is UNC’s 40 first-round NBA draft selection, and seemed excited about going to Toronto.

"I really learned a lot during the whole Carolina thing, my two years there, you know what I’m saying,'' Davis said. "We did great one year and then not so good my sophomore year, but like I said, I learned a lot. But I'm really looking forward to being in Toronto, a young team; they really played up and down and I’m happy to be there."

Booker, a first-team All-ACC selection, was the first senior chosen in the draft. He averaged 15.2 points and 8.4 rebounds last season, and although he was drafted my Minnesota, ESPN reported that he was going to be traded to Washington -- where he will team with Raleigh's John Wall, the top overall selection.

Georgia Tech forward Gani Lawal was taken in the second round, 46th overall, by Phoenix -- well ahead of Florida State 7-footer Solomon Alabi, who had been projected as a first rounder but instead went No. 50 overall to Dallas; Alabi was later traded to Toronto. FSU's forward Ryan Reid went No. 57 to Indiana, and Miami forward Dwayne Collins went with the final pick, No. 60, to the Phoenix Suns.

BRIEFLY: But 7-foot Marshall forward Hassan Whiteside, who is from Gastonia, was chosen by Sacramento in the second round, 33rd overall.

-- Robbi Pickeral

Correspondent Elio Velez contributed to this story.


ejaz14357 said...

Observations from Above the ,is so beautifull name.