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Alexander Keeps His Cool, Lands With Milwaukee as Expected

By Zach Berman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 27, 2008

Entering yesterday's NBA draft, mock drafts and analysts pegged Mount Airy native and former West Virginia forward Joe Alexander as the likely pick for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Yesterday afternoon, news leaked that the Bucks had traded for New Jersey Nets swingman Richard Jefferson. Alexander wasn't concerned. He knew the Bucks were interested and was confident that they would act on that interest.

The Bucks kept to the expected script, drafting Alexander with the No. 8 pick in last night's draft.

"It shows how far I've come, that I'm not hanging on by a thread but I'm one of the major players," Alexander said by telephone last night from New York, where he was attending the draft at Madison Square Garden.

Alexander climbed to the stage and shook hands with NBA Commissioner David Stern, who told him to smile for the camera and wished Alexander luck in Milwaukee.

In addition to Alexander, eight other local players were selected last night. In the first round, Kansas State's Michael Beasley of Gaithersburg was selected No. 2 by the Miami Heat; Georgetown's Roy Hibbert of Adelphi was selected No. 17 by the Toronto Raptors, although his rights are expected to be traded to the Indiana Pacers; and Syracuse's Donté Greene of Baltimore was selected 28th by the Memphis Grizzlies.

In the second round, Memphis big man Joey Dorsey, a Baltimore native, was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 33 overall selection; Virginia guard Sean Singletary was selected No. 42 by the Sacramento Kings; and Georgetown's Patrick Ewing Jr. joined him on the Kings one pick later. Maryland forward James Gist was drafted No. 57 overall by the San Antonio Spurs. Virginia Tech swingman Deron Washington was selected at No. 59 by the Detroit Pistons.

Alexander said he kept a clear head before the draft despite all the publicity. But as the names started to be called and his NBA fate inched closer to reality, Alexander admitted the excitement took over.

"Everything hit me -- maybe it was there all along in my subconscious," Alexander said. "You can feel the magnitude of the moment."

Alexander's emotions were not altered following of trade.

"I wasn't worried," Alexander said. "This is the team I wanted. I like the staff, I like the city."

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Alexander projects as a combination forward. He averaged 16.9 points and 6.4 rebounds at West Virginia last season. Alexander left following his junior season after a college career that saw him rise from unknown to one of the top players in the Big East.

Joining Alexander in New York was Dorsey, although Dorsey was not one of those invited by the NBA. Nonetheless, the 6-9, 265-pound power forward reveled in the moment.

"Just to be picked by an NBA team is a special feeling for me," Dorsey said from New York. "I'm going to live it. I'm going to live for the minute."

Ewing Jr. watched the draft from the home of Georgetown head coach John Thompson III with Hibbert. After Singletary was selected, Ewing's father, former NBA star Patrick Ewing, called to congratulate his son on getting drafted. The pick had not yet been announced, but the elder Ewing found out from a third party.

"People were saying I wasn't going to get drafted," Ewing Jr. said. "Just to get picked, it's like a weight off you. It's like, 'Man, I finally made it.' "

Gist watched the draft from his parents' home in York, Pa. He was outside getting some fresh air when he heard the celebration. He'll try to join an experienced Spurs roster that is perennially a threat to win the NBA championship.

"They have a bunch of veterans and I can pick their brains," Gist said over the phone. "I didn't pay attention to the team. I just took it as it came."

Staff writers Michael Lee and Camille Powell contributed to this report.

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