Archive for Thursday, June 27, 2002

NBA Draft: Grizzlies select Gooden

June 27, 2002


Former Kansas University basketball standout Drew Gooden predicted Tuesday that he would be the fourth pick in the NBA draft.

Gooden's prediction, and his dream, came true Wednesday night in New York when the Memphis Grizzlies selected the 6-foot-10 forward from Richmond, Calif., with the fourth pick.

KU coach Roy Williams wasn't surprised either.

"I would have probably been really disappointed if they had not taken Drew," Williams said. "I think they got a player who has versatility and can play more than one position. He is going to do some great things in Memphis."

Gooden led KU and the Big 12 Conference in scoring and rebounding as a junior last season, averaging 19.8 points and 11.4 boards per game. He set a Kansas single-season record with 25 double-doubles and helped KU reach the Final Four for the first time since 1993.

Gooden will join two other talented young Grizzlies  Pau Gasol and Shane Battier  in Memphis' rebuilding effort.

"He's going to get bigger," Memphis president Jerry West said. "He's got a big frame, and when you watch him, he's really quick and active. He'll be one of the fastest guys on the team, or the fastest guy on the team."

Gooden was the highest-drafted KU player since Raef LaFrentz was taken by the Denver Nuggets with the No. 3 pick in 1998. He is the 13th Jayhawk to go in the first round of the draft and the eighth in the Williams era.

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