Spurs' first-rate discoveries
With three second-round picks, the Spurs grabbed a rebounder whose knees caused him to drop out of the first round, a sharpshooter some think is too small for the NBA and the requisite foreign guy who'll likely remain overseas for a spell.
Still, ESPN.com's Chad Ford gave the Spurs his only A+ for going with Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair, Miami's Jack McClinton and France's Nando de Colo, calling Blair the steal of the draft. Spurs general manager R.C. Buford agreed: “You don't find a guy like that falling very often.”
Douglas Pils tracks down what others have said about the Spurs' selections, as well as a few notes on each.
Facts: Turned 20 on April 22. ... Grew up 600 yards from the University of Pittsburgh and went to high school one mile from campus.
Noteworthy: The 6-foot-7 power forward was Pittsburgh’s first first-team All-American in 50 years, and the sophomore led the Panthers to their first Elite Eight since 1974. ... According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he lost 30 pounds while training for the NBA draft. ... He was the ninth power forward drafted.
What they’re saying: “There is not a better place for DeJuan than San Antonio. I’m ecstatic. San Antonio has a great history. They have great veterans to teach him the game. When San Antonio called me, there was shouting in the background because they were so excited to get him.” — Happy Walters, Blair’s agent, to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Facts: Already 24, the 6-1 Baltimore native spent a year at Siena before transferring to Miami, where he played three years.
Noteworthy: A two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference guard, he set the ACC record for 3-point percentage (44.0) and the school mark for 3-pointers (286). ... In five games against No. 1-ranked teams in 2008-09, he averaged 29.8 points, 10 more than his average. ... He’d be the first from Siena to play in the NBA.
What they’re saying: “I like Jack McClinton a lot. McClinton’s a specialist. He’ll be like an Eddie House for you. He doesn’t really put the ball on the floor or attack the basket. He’s a guy that’ll come in and make challenged perimeter shots.” — College basketball analyst Jay Bilas on ACCsports.com
Nando de Colo
Facts: The 6-5 Sainte Catherine, France, native turned 22 on Tuesday. ... Has played past three seasons with Cholet Basket in the French A-League, averaging 14.2 points in 45 games in 2008-09.
Noteworthy: Led Cholet with 24 points while playing with a broken nose in the EuroChallenge Final Four championship game in April. He missed a late 3-pointer that allowed Kansas-ex Keith Langford’s Virtus BolognaFiere to escape with a 77-75 victory. ... Was on French national team for last year’s European Championships, averaging 12.2 points in six games playing with the Spurs’ Tony Parker
What they’re saying: “(He) can shoot threes and can play the pick and roll and one on one. He’s explosive and has good feet quickness. He’s really a good passer so he can score and make the others better. And his first quality is his brain.” — Antoine Rigedeau, former member of the French national team, to NBAdraft.net
I thought when I moved to SA over 20 years ago, I'd have to brush up on my Spanish. However, if the Spurs keep importing players from France (Parker, Mahinimi, and now de Colo), I'll have to invest in an English to French dictionary.
Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.
They're in San Antonio now. Let them brush up on their Tex-Mex!!!!
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