The National Basketball Association draft yesterday was a landmark in the progress of Georgetown University's program under Coach John Thompson.
When John Duren was taken on the first round by Utah and Craig Shelton on the second by Atlanta, it was the highest any Hoyas ever had been selected. No other college had two players selected among the first 28 picked.
Thompson said at a news conference, "I'm very, very, happy for them, I'm honored and the university is flattered. I said last year that these two would have a better chance to play in the NBA than they had of making all-America."
Donald Dell, who will represent both players in negotiations with the pro clubs, said, "John (Duren) will have a chance to start with Utah as a play-making point guard and be the quarterback.
"Craig is really a No. 1 pick for Atlanta, because they needed a power forward. Both were fortunate because each team drafted for a specific needs, and that's unusual.
"We told John (Duren) it was an advantage for him when teams were selecting for height between the 13th and 19th picks in the first round. It was his best break to be picked by Utah. He will be playing with Darrell Griffith (of Louisville)."
Duren also will be playing on the same team with an old Washington friend, Adrian Dantley, and said Dantley had given him a "rundown" on how much he liked the organization.
When he was asked about playing in the same back court with Griffith, Duren said, "I know Griffith is very good. I played with him on the same team in the Pan American Games."
Shelton said he was not dismayed at not being selected in the first round. "I was confident I would go in the second round if I didn't make it in the first round," he said.
Asked about his height (6 feet 7), Shelton said, "It's not the size of a man that counts, but the size of his heart."
He added, "it will be great to play for Hubie Brown (coach of the Hawks). He's tough and a disciplinarian, like Coach Thompson, and he is respected all around the league."
Duren, 6 feet 3 and 193 pounds, is regarded as unusually strong and averaged 13.5 points in four seasons at Georgetown. He averaged 12.3 as a senior when the Hoyas had a 26-6 record and came within two points of making the NCAA Final Four, losing, 81-80 to Iowa.
Shelton had a career scoring average of 15.2 points, 17.3 last season. Both are 22.
Dell said, "We told John that he had been drafted as the eighth pick in the first round by Philadelphia, everyone probably would have said, 'That's great.' But Philadelphia has four guards with no-cut contracts.
"We were petrified that Philadelphia might take him as the 21st pick on the first round, with the 76ers second pick in that round.
"A week from now, Craig will be the happiest man alive that he wasn't taken by Philadelphia or Washington. The Bullets have players such as Bobby Dandridge, Greg Ballard, Mitch Kupchak, and Elvin Hayes. They all have no-cut contracts."