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No High Demand for Local Players

NBA: Jacobsen, Prince are drafted in the first round, with Gadzuric, Barnes and Clancy going in the second.

June 27, 2002|PAUL GUTIERREZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Only two players with Southland connections were selected in the first round of the NBA draft Wednesday, and neither played college basketball in Los Angeles.

And although five others with roots in the region were selected in the second round, a highly touted high school player wasn't drafted.

Such was the lot of players from the region who were looking to jump to the highest level in a draft heavily influenced by undergraduates and foreigners.

Casey Jacobsen, a junior guard from Stanford who played at Glendora High, was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the No. 22 pick, and Kentucky senior forward Tayshaun Prince, who played at Compton Dominguez, was drafted by the Detroit Pistons one pick later.

Only first-round picks receive guaranteed contracts.

UCLA senior center Dan Gadzuric was the 34th pick overall, going to the Milwaukee Bucks, and Bruin teammate Matt Barnes, a senior forward, was picked by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 46th pick, then his rights were traded to Cleveland. Neither Gadzuric nor Barnes could be reached for comment.

Former Fresno State guard Tito Maddox, who played at Compton and one season in college but had to sit out last season because of improper contacts with an agent, went 38th to the Houston Rockets.

Perhaps falling most precipitously was USC senior forward Sam Clancy, the Pacific 10 Conference player of the year and a second-team All-American.

Clancy, who dislocated his left knee in a workout with Phoenix on May 13 and later underwent surgery, was unable to visit any other team and fell victim to an out-of-sight-out-of-mind syndrome.

The Philadelphia 76ers remembered him, though, and chose him at No. 45, their only selection after trading away the rights to No. 16 pick Jiri Welsch.

The 6-foot-7 Clancy, who has been tabbed too small to play power forward in the NBA, was overjoyed at the prospect of joining a team one season removed from playing in the NBA Finals and helping Dikembe Mutombo and Derrick Coleman down low.

"I knew teams would [sleep] on me, so to speak," Clancy said from his home in Cleveland. "But for [the 76ers] to take a chance on me means a lot. I see myself fitting in nicely there and I just got off the phone with Coach [Larry Brown] and he said he felt the same way."

Still, Clancy, who tested the draft waters last year before returning for his senior season, was perturbed that he had to wait so long to hear his name called.

In being the 45th pick, Clancy matched California's Sean Lampley, selected by the Chicago Bulls last summer, as the second-lowest Pac-10 player of the year drafted. Only USC's Wayne Carlander, who went 99th overall to Sacramento in 1985, when the draft lasted seven rounds, has gone lower.

"Sure, I saw some people go ahead of me that I would kill on an average day," Clancy said. "But I'm just happy being drafted in the NBA, especially being hurt. I have a teammate [USC senior forward David Bluthenthal] who should have been drafted but wasn't, so I'm just counting my blessings."

The last player from the region drafted was California freshman center Jamal Sampson, a former Santa Ana Mater Dei standout, who went 47th to the Utah Jazz before having his rights dealt to Milwaukee.

Inglewood senior DeAngelo Collins was not selected despite being considered a borderline first-round selection in some draft circles. The 6-foot-10, 230-pounder intrigued scouts with quickness and range, but may have scared off teams with his history of transgressions.

At 13, he assaulted a woman in Stockton, his hometown, and served 60 days in a juvenile detention center. As a freshman at Tustin, he served six months in juvenile hall for assaulting a teammate.

Collins, a third-team Parade All-American this season, averaged 23 points and 15 rebounds despite sitting out 12 games because of a knee injury.

*

Times Staff Writer Eric Stephens contributed to this report.

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