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Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2001

NBA Draft: Washington takes teen; Bulls make big trade

June 28, 2001

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— Jerry Krause stole the spotlight from Michael Jordan at the NBA draft on Wednesday, dealing his best player Elton Brand to the Clippers for 18-year-old center Tyson Chandler.

On a night when high school seniors were chosen first, second, fourth and eighth, the crowd at Madison Square Garden let out an astonished howl when commissioner David Stern announced the Clippers-Bulls trade.

It was the surprise moment of a night that saw Jordan make history by becoming the first NBA executive to select a high school player first overall as Washington chose 19-year-old Kwame Brown of Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga.

Chandler, a 7-foot-1 center from Dominguez H.S. in Compton, Calif., went second before Pau Gasol, a forward for F.C. Barcelona, went third to Atlanta.

Gasol will eventually end up in Memphis with the Grizzlies as part of a trade that sent Shareef Abdur-Rahim to the Hawks for Lorenzen Wright, Brevin Knight and Gasol.

In another trade, the New Jersey Nets sent the rights to Eddie Griffin, selected seventh overall, to Houston for the rights to their three first-round picks: Arizona forward Richard Jefferson (No. 13 overall), Stanford center Jason Collins (No. 18) and Pepperdine guard Brandon Armstrong (No. 23).

Also, Cleveland traded the rights to North Carolina center Brendan Haywood, the 20th overall pick, to Orlando for center Michael Doleac.

The Bulls used the fourth pick on another high school senior, Eddy Curry of Thornwood H.S. in South Holland, Ill. Curry averaged 22 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots for Thornwood, which went 31-1 last season. The 6-foot-11, 285-pound Curry was the MVP of the McDonald's All-America game.

The Bulls, who had the youngest team in NBA history last season and won only 15 games, are even younger after trading Brand, the co-Rookie of the Year in 1999-00. They also acquired forward Brian Skinner from the Clippers.

Brown, a 6-11, 240-pound center from Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga., become the youngest player ever to hear his name announced first.

Six high school seniors made themselves eligible for this year's draft, and four were first-round picks.

Brown originally planned to attend the University of Florida before changing his mind when he learned he might be chosen among the top five. As a high school senior, he averaged 20.1 points and 13.3 rebounds.

"I guess I just made history. It's great. I've never been so overwhelmed and nervous in my life," Brown said.

The Wizards considered trading the pick, but Jordan drafted a player with enormous potential in a draft considered top heavy with big men.

"We were entertaining possibilities, but nothing could change our minds as to what he could do for the Washington Wizards," Jordan said.

The first college player drafted was Michigan State sophomore Jason Richardson, who went to Golden State with the fifth pick. Shane Battier of Duke went sixth overall to the Grizzlies. The Nets selected Seton Hall freshman Griffin, and Cleveland used the eighth selection on DeSagana Diop of Oak Hill Academy (Va.), a 7-footer originally from Senegal.

Detroit selected Charlotte freshman Rodney White with the ninth pick, and Boston chose Arkansas shooting guard Joe Johnson with the 10th pick and junior college player Kedrick Brown with the 11th.

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