- The Washington Times - Friday, June 30, 2000

The Clippers selected a player from high school with the third pick in the NBA Draft.

That didn't say much for the quality of Billy Packer's collegians, although it confirmed that Elgin Baylor is still alive.

The Clippers probably were trying to keep it real. They run a high school operation anyway.

The Clippers don't have a coach. They don't have much of a team either. The latter condition contributes to the former.

John Thompson and Mike Fratello have talked to the Clippers. But they are obligated to talk to anyone. It goes with their duties at Turner Sports.

Darius Miles slipped on a Clippers cap and hugged his mother at Target Center after David Stern announced the sentence. Then Miles made his way to the podium and hugged Stern.

To hear Miles tell it, Siberia is preferable to East St. Louis, Ill. Now he will get a chance to find out.

Danny Ferry hid in Italy after the Clippers selected him with the second pick in the 1989 draft.

The Clippers are not even the No. 2 basketball team in Los Angeles. That designation usually goes to UCLA.

Miles says he looks up to Kevin Garnett and Chris Webber. One out of two is not bad.

It was no-name night in a city that produced the artist formerly known as Prince. At least the suspects formerly known as players wore smiles and nice suits.

That goes for Stromile Swift, the Grizzlies' top pick in pinstripes.

"I'm looking forward to making an impact in Canada," he said.

That qualifies as a public relations coup in Vancouver.

Steve Francis stomped his feet and wore a frown after the Grizzlies entered his life last June.

The Wizards used the 35th pick to select someone named Mike Smith.

John Smith, LaBradford Smith or Mike Smith. It did not appear to matter to Michael Jordan.

"At the 35th pick, you're taking a shot in the dark," he said.

He must mean with Smith & Wesson.

Guns don't kill teams. Shot-in-the-dark players kill teams.

"But you never know," Jordan said.

That is why they play the games, including the ones that involve the Clippers.

DeShawn Stevenson was the other player from high school chosen in the first round of the draft. That should be an interesting marriage, Stevenson and the Jazz.

Coach Jerry Sloan usually has no use for rookies, and those are the ones with college backgrounds. So he either has invested in Prozac or is desperate.

"We had the opportunity to get a guy with a tremendous upside," Sloan said. "That doesn't always mean that a guy is going to come in and play."

The NBA tapped the overseas market out of necessity. A record 14 players born on foreign soil were among the 58 choices. Believe it or not, they even play basketball in Istanbul, as Hidayet Turkoglu would attest.

Rod Thorn, who used to be in charge of Dennis Rodman's fines, is now in charge of the Nets. Some would argue the Nets are a step down.

Thorn and the Nets are moving from Jayson Williams to Kenyon Martin. That is one broken leg to another.

Going into the draft, Martin discovered that everyone is a doctor and a gossip. For the record, Martin denies he has psoriasis or hemorrhoids.

"That's crazy," he said, meaning the medical rumors.

Scoonie Penn and Michael Redd were the flavors of the moment after they led Ohio State to the Final Four in 1999. Now you need a search party to find them.

Mateen Cleaves and Morris Peterson, the darlings of the Final Four this year, show that timing is everything. They went in the first round instead of the second.

Erick Barkley will be hiding from the NCAA snoops in Portland next season. That is Portland, Ore., not Portland, Maine, if the snoops are still interested in sifting through the Barkley family's underthings.

The Zen master read his tea leaves before waiving A.C. Green and adding Mark Madsen. Green was believed to be the oldest virgin in the NBA, while Madsen answered to "Mad Dog" at Stanford.

That means the Lakers are younger and bulkier. Madsen's body next to Shaquille O'Neal's is overkill.

The sigh you hear is coming from Rik Smits.

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