The NBA draft had a retro theme Tuesday night, as the Milwaukee Bucks turned back the clock to a time when the top overall pick understood the meaning of dorm life and late-night runs for pizza and chicken wings. The rest of the first round looked a lot like 1999, with three point guards going in the top 10 and four first-rounders coming from the same college for the first time since that year.
The Bucks selected 7-foot center Andrew Bogut from the University of Utah with the No. 1 pick, marking the first time in five years that the top pick played at least one year of college basketball. Bogut was the consensus national player of the year after averaging 20.4 points and 12.2 rebounds as a sophomore. He also was a member of the Australian Olympic team last summer in Athens.
The Bucks chose the Aussie over North Carolina freshman Marvin Williams, who went second, to Atlanta. After Commissioner David Stern announced Bogut's name, the 20-year-old clenched his fists and his father, Michael, rubbed Andrew's jet-black, moppy mane until Andrew placed a purple Bucks hat on his head. Bogut beamed as he shook Stern's hand.
"I was confident, but I wasn't 100 percent. It was 50-50. Now that I'm here, it's a great honor," Bogut said. "I can't believe it at the moment. I'll wake up tomorrow and every year, I'll probably have a couple of beers to celebrate the day when I went number one."
Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin was the last collegiate player to go first, to the New Jersey Nets in 2000. In subsequent years, top picks were Kwame Brown, Yao Ming, LeBron James and Dwight Howard; all but Yao were selected straight out of high school.
Bogut becomes the second No. 1 pick in the past three years to be born outside of the United States. "Basketball is a global game, just like soccer is a global game," said Bogut, whose parents were Croatian immigrants. "You see the Manu Ginobilis of the world and the Yao Mings of the world. We can play the game in every country."
Utah became the first school to produce the No. 1 pick in both the NBA and NFL in the same year. The San Francisco 49ers selected quarterback Alex Smith first in the NFL Draft.
The Utah Jazz chose Deron Williams with the third choice after acquiring the pick from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the Nos. 6 and 27 picks and a future first-round choice.
Deron Williams, who led the Fighting Illini to the national championship game last season, was followed by Wake Forest's Chris Paul, who went fourth to the New Orleans Hornets, and North Carolina's Raymond Felton, who went fifth to the Charlotte Bobcats. Williams, Paul and Felton became the first trio of point guards to go that high since 1999, when Steve Francis (No. 2), Baron Davis (No. 3), Andre Miller (No. 8) and Jason Terry (No. 10) all went in the top 10.
The Jazz has needed a point guard since John Stockton retired two years ago as the NBA's all-time leader in steals and assists. Williams said he wasn't intimidated about following the legend, who has a statue outside the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.
"For me, it feels like an honor to follow John Stockton, one of the 50 greatest players of all time," Williams said. "It's good to come in after him, after his legacy. I just think [I'm] who the Jazz felt more comfortable with, the big guard, the strong guard, the biggest of the three. I just think I have a good all-around game. I know how to lead people. It's something I was born with, something I'm great at."
The deepest collection of talent belonged to college national champion North Carolina, which produced four of the top 14 picks: Marvin Williams, Felton, Sean May (13th) and Rashad McCants (14th). Felton and May will remain teammates as both were selected by the Charlotte Bobcats. In need of a point guard, the Bobcats had tried to move up for Deron Williams or Paul but settled on Felton.
The selection of the 6-9 May was surprising considering the Bobcats already have Emeka Okafor, last season's rookie of the year, who plays the same position (power forward).
"The thing with me and Emeka, I think you can play us both at the same time because he's that big and that strong," May said. "It looks like a great fit."
McCants went to the Minnesota Timberwolves and had the most lighthearted moment of the night when he walked up to the podium and Stern wasn't prepared to greet him. As Stern stared down, McCants patted Stern on the shoulder, then looked toward the audience in shock before Stern extended his hand and began to chuckle.
This was possibly the last draft of its kind, with 18-year-olds no longer getting a chance to become instant millionaires. Under the league's new six-year collective bargaining agreement, American-born players will have to wait until one year after high school, closing a flood gate that brought in superstars Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady and LeBron James. Three high school players went in the first round on Tuesday.
Portland used the sixth pick to draft high school senior Martell Webster from Seattle Prep, marking the first time since 1998 that the first five picks all played college basketball.
"I feel fortunate to be a part of the last group of high school players that will be coming out," said Webster, who plans to "show them that maybe high school players still have the ability to play in the NBA. That it's a maturity issue. That if they're ready to play, they're ready to play."
The Los Angeles Lakers, making their first lottery selection in 11 years, chose Andrew Bynum from St. Joseph High (Metuchen, N.J.). Gerald Green, a 6-8 swingman from Gulf Shores Academy in Houston, was projected to go as high as third, but the prep star slipped all the way to the Boston Celtics at No. 18. Green nearly fought back tears in his chair, while family members consoled him before he received the call that he was selected.
"I felt I'd get picked earlier," Green said. "But it's God's plan, I'll roll with it."
Not possessing a first round pick, the Washington Wizards selected Andray Blatche, a 7-foot high school senior from South Kent Prep (Conn.), at No. 49.
Georgia Tech junior Jarrett Jack, a native of Fort Washington, was the 22nd pick, by the Denver Nuggets, and immediately shipped to Portland for the rights to Linas Kleiza (27th, Montrose Christian and Washington Post's All-Met Player of the Year in 2003) and Ricky Sanchez (35th). Before the trade, Jack sounded excited about possibly playing with Carmelo Anthony and DerMarr Johnson in Denver, but he added, "This draft has been full of surprises."
"A lot of guys from my area have a lot of off-the-court things that usually hinder them from making it to this point, be it drugs or violence, whatever the case may be," Jack said. "Everybody knows this is a dream come true. Rashad McCants just told me, it doesn't matter where you go, you're here now."
The Bucks, who made their first top overall pick since they drafted Glenn Robinson in 1994, will attempt to re-sign free agent Michael Redd this summer and they already improved their roster recently when point guard T.J. Ford was given medical clearance to participate in full contact drills after missing all of last season with a spinal cord injury. After his news conference, Bogut proudly held up the No. 6 jersey. He wore No. 4 in college but that number has been retired in Milwaukee for Sidney Moncrief.
One day before the draft, Bogut said Milwaukee suited him because he liked "beer and cheese." Asked if he was ready to indulge in those two, Bogut said, "I'm only 20, so I'll have to hold off the beer for a while, but the cheese, sure."
The Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks finished a deal that had been in the works for some time. The Suns used their first-round pick (21st) to select University of Washington guard Nate Robinson, then sent him to New York to complete the trade of Quentin Richardson to the Knicks for Kurt Thomas. The Suns also received the Knicks' second-round pick, Dijon Thompson, a guard-forward from UCLA.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.