- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2005

NEW YORK — It sure was a g’day for Andrew Bogut. And not a bad night for the NCAA champions from North Carolina.

Bogut, a 7-foot center from Australia, was chosen No. 1 last night in the NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, becoming the first player in five years with U.S. college experience to be drafted No. 1 overall.

Four players from North Carolina were chosen among the first 14 picks on a night when the usual avalanche of trades was only a trickle by the time the first round ended.

The 20-year-old Bogut, who played two seasons at Utah and was the college player of the year, straightened his tie, adjusted his suit jacket and took a deep breath in the moments before commissioner David Stern summoned him to the podium onstage at Madison Square Garden. When his name was called, Bogut raised a clenched right fist.

Utah became the first school to have players picked first in the NBA and NFL drafts in the same year. Quarterback Alex Smith was drafted No. 1 by the San Francisco 49ers in April.

Milwaukee had been debating whether to take Bogut or North Carolina small forward Marvin Williams with the franchise’s first overall No. 1 pick since 1994, when the Bucks selected Glenn Robinson. In the end, the lure of a versatile, athletic 7-footer with Olympic experience was too much to pass up.

“I was confident, but I wasn’t 100 percent,” Bogut said. “Now that I’m here, it’s a great honor.”

The Atlanta Hawks chose Williams second, and the 19-year-old player flashed a bright smile at Stern while shaking the commissioner’s hand. The 6-foot-9 small forward was a sixth man for the Tar Heels.

Illinois junior point guard Deron Williams went third to the Jazz, who sent three first-round picks — Nos. 6 and 27 in this year’s draft, plus a 2006 first-round pick — to the Trail Blazers earlier.

In other proposed trades, New York was to send center Kurt Thomas and the No. 54 overall pick to Phoenix for shooting guard Quentin Richardson and point guard Nate Robinson of Washington, who was selected 21st. The Knicks also selected 30th, giving them three first-round picks.

New Orleans selected fourth and also chose a playmaker, picking Wake Forest sophomore guard Chris Paul, and the Charlotte Bobcats took North Carolina junior point guard Raymond Felton at No. 5. It marked the first time since 1999 that three point guards were picked among the top 10.

High school senior Martell Webster of Seattle Prep went No. 6 to Portland, making him the first prep player taken in a draft notable for its historical significance. It likely marked the final time high school players would be eligible to jump directly to the pros — the route chosen by Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, LeBron James, Jermaine O’Neal and others.

Under terms of the new six-year collective bargaining agreement to take effect in July, high school players will have to wait one year after their class graduates to become draft eligible.

The new agreement also reduces the length of guaranteed contracts for first-round picks from three years to two, with teams holding options for additional years. Even with the reduced length of his first deal, Bogut will become a millionaire the moment he signs with the Bucks.

“It’s one of the best days of my life, and my family’s,” Bogut said. “I am going to be a workhorse.”

Connecticut sophomore forward Charlie Villanueva was chosen seventh by the Toronto Raptors, and the Knicks addressed their need for a big man by taking Arizona center Channing Frye — the first college senior selected — with the No. 8 pick.

Arizona State junior Ike Diogu went ninth to Golden State, and 7-foot high school senior Andrew Bynum of St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J., went 10th to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“Wow, man, I get to play with Kobe Bryant and get coached by Phil Jackson!” said Bynum, who was seated in the stands at Madison Square Garden rather than in the so-called green room near the main stage where most top prospects waited to hear their names called. “I’m looking forward to palm trees and Jack Nicholson.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide