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Duke Makes Draft History With 4 First-Round Picks

Posted June 30, 1999

— Elton Brand andDuke Universityput their imprint on the 1999NBAdraft Wednesday night.

For the first time in NBA-draft history, a single school produced four first-round draft picks, including the overall number one pick.

TheChicago Bullsshocked the sold-out draft crowd by selecting Duke sophomore Elton Brand. The pro-Maryland crowd was none too happy with the selection and let everyone know they thought Steve Francis should have been taken with the top pick.

Brand was the first Duke player to declare for the NBA draft early, and the only one of the three Blue Devils who would go pro early with Coach K's approval.

Brand averaged 17 points a game, taking Duke a brief step away from theNCAAtitle. Brand was a controversial figure early in the draft process when rumors surfaced that he was really only 6 feet 5 and a half inches, not 6 feet 8 inches.

Measurements at the NBA pre-draft workouts squelched the rumors and after a lengthy workout and interview process, the Bulls knew they had their man.

Brand joins Art Heyman as the only Duke players to be the first pick of the draft.

Vancouverthen promptly selected Francis with the second pick, and the crowd roared its approval.

Francis only spent one year atMarylandafter a journey that included several stops. His tremendous athleticism made for a human-highlight film of a season for the Terps. Francis' height projects him as an NBA point guard, but his explosive scoring ability may allow him to move to the two-guard position.

TheL.A. Clipperstook Lamar Odom in the four slot. Odom could have possibly been the number one pick before he flip-flopped about entering the draft, and then went as far as to skip a scheduled meeting with Bulls' coach Tim Floyd, who flew to Rhode Island. The 6'9" Odom can play inside and outside and handles the ball like a guard, but owns a post-player's body.

For all the trouble that surrounded Odom, he was one of the only players who actually went into the crowd and signed autographs.

TheHornetstookUCLApoint guard Baron Davis. The physical guard will fit in well in the new fast-paced offense Charlotte has developed since acquiring Eddie Jones last season from theLakers.

Youth was served in this draft, as from the first pick until the sixth, the combined years of Division I collegiate experience was seven.

The next big shock was a Duke Blue one again. TheCleveland Cavaliersselected Trajan Langdon, the Alaskan Assassin, with the 11th pick. Langdon was projected as a low first-round pick, but the Suns evidently saw something special with Langdon, which is no surprise after the four years Langdon gave his heart and soul to the Blue Devils.

At thirteen,Seattle SuperSonicstook Duke freshman Corey Maggette, but then traded him along with Don MacLean and Dale Ellis toOrlandofor Horace Grant. Maggette, along with last year's selections Matt Harpring and Michael Doleac, will form a young nucleus to take the Magic into the future.

Maggette turned pro despite the advice to the contrary from Michael Jordan and Coach K. NBA teams loved his strong body and huge potential.

The next pick went to theTimberwolves, who took Blue Devil William Avery. Avery will be allowed to develop, because Minnesota already has a solid point guard in Terrell Brandon. Brandon, a defensive specialist, will surely share time with Avery, who is more offensive minded.

The last ACC player selected in the first round wasGeorgia Tech's Dion Glover, who was selected number 20 by theAtlanta Hawks, despite sitting out all last season with a knee injury. Glover declared for the draft, but paid his own way and did not sign with an agent so he could retain his eligibility up until several days before the draft.

Despite some draft projections, Glover stayed in the draft and it paid off with a first-round selection.

The second round saw other notable ACC players selected, including the Terps' Obinna Ekezie taken by Vancouver, and LaRon Profit taken by Orlando. Profit had his own fan club in attendance, featuring a group of male Maryland students who wrote N-E-T P-R-O-F-I-T across their bare chests.

The Hornets wrapped up their draft with the 42nd selection by choosing scoring-machine Lee Nailon from TCU. The 6'9" Nailon declared and withdrew from the draft last season. Nailon once scored 53 points in a college game. He will provide the Hornets with a physical, but not speedy, presence.

UNC-Charlottegot in on the draft action when the Bucks took guard Galen Young in the 48th slot.

The ACC led all conferences with six selections. The Big East was second with four.

After having the fourth and fifth picks last year, no Tar Heels were selected in the draft.North Carolina's Ademola Okulaja had a lackluster performance at several pre-draft camps after an All-ACC senior season. He will probably play overseas next year if he doesn't sign a free-agent offer.

Now begins the contract negotiations. Brand, represented by super-agent David Falk, will have a three-year deal with an option on the fourth and the Bulls' first right of refusal for the fifth year, under the new collective bargaining agreement. Online Reporter: Michelle Donahue Hillison

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