Archive for Monday, May 27, 2002

NBA Draft: Gooden would like to play for Bulls

Former-Jayhawk power forward works out in Windy City during weekend

May 27, 2002


After every Kansas University victory last season, Drew Gooden got a pair of uniform shorts from the team the Jayhawks had just defeated, a good-luck superstition he hopes to continue in the NBA.

Wearing the shorts he picked up from Oregon in last year's NCAA tournament, Gooden worked out for the Bulls on Saturday morning at the Berto Center as part of a trip to determine which uniform he will call his own next season.

The 6-foot-10 power forward already had worked out for Houston and Golden State and plans to visit Memphis this week, completing his tour of the draft's top four teams.

He believes his 21 points and 11 rebounds per game as a Kansas junior should make him a high lottery selection.

Gooden said he had no preference among the top teams, but he had studied the Bulls' history for quite some time.

"When I was a little kid I used to dream about playing next to Michael Jordan, B.J. (Armstrong)and coach (Bill) Cartwright," Gooden explained after his workout before two of those former players, Armstrong and Cartwright.

"This is a team on the rise, with a lot of potential and a lot of upside,"Gooden said.

"There are a lot of talented young players who can cause matchup problems, and it would be great to be part of the group who rebuilds that dynasty."

Saturday's workout, consisting of two hours of physical testing for reaction and flexibility before the on-court drills, also included Maryland's Lonny Baxter, Notre Dame's Ryan Humphrey and Maybyner "Nene" Hilario, a 19-year-old who played for the Vasco da Gama team in Brazil.

The 6-10 Hilario wasn't projected as a first-round pick until 2003 because of his age and limited experience in organized basketball.

But NBA players at the Goodwill Games told him his overall skill level was good enough to make him sought-after in this year's draft, and early workouts in Cleveland persuaded him to make the move.

His current Brazilian contract could be a sticking point. His skills, on the other hand, leave little doubt.

"He's going to be a beast when he gets older," Gooden said. "He has the tools and is really a great athlete."

Humphrey, who also has worked out for Orlando, Milwaukee and Houston, is trying to show his ability to drive and make midrange jumpers after having to play down low in Notre Dame's system.

Baxter is trying to distinguish himself from the other Maryland big men who helped the Terrapins win the national championship.

Gooden didn't collect any Maryland shorts from Baxter in the Final Four. And with Marcus Fizer and Eddy Curry already locked in at Gooden's position, the Bulls appear more likely to be a new target for him than a new employer.

"I'm a top lottery pick, wherever I end up," Gooden said. "My workouts definitely have put me there."

Final spots: Ben Wallace and Elton Brand were selected to fill the final two roster spots for the United States team in the World Championships this summer.

Wallace, the Detroit Pistons forward who led the NBA in rebounding and blocked shots, will give the American team another low-post player capable of doing the dirty work inside. Brand also is a tenacious rebounder.

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