Sunday, March 24

No Clippers here


By Eric BranchSummer Bruin Staff

Betting on a disco revival might be safer than trying to predict
the NBA draft. Just ask Ed O’Bannon, George Zidek and Tyus
Edney.

UCLA’s trio of seniors were picked – as expected – at last
Wednesday’s draft in Toronto. However, their order of selection did
not exactly go according to form.

O’Bannon, the 1995 Player of the Year, almost slipped out of the
top 10, Zidek leaped from a second-round project to the 22nd pick
overall and Edney dropped out of the first round completely.

The reasons?

"The NBA places so much emphasis on their pre-draft workouts,"
UCLA head coach Jim Harrick said. "It doesn’t really matter what
these guys did in their four years of college. If you go to
(pre-draft camp in) Chicago and do well, you will get drafted.

"That’s just the way the NBA does business – I don’t really
understand it. George was in Chicago and did well and Tyus wasn’t -
so he slipped."

The case of O’Bannon had less to do with workouts than medical
examinations. While teams realized O’Bannon’s basketball talents,
his time on the training table overshadowed his work on the
court.

After O’Bannon’s arthritic left knee was red-flagged by the NBA,
he seemingly went from a basketball player to a medical
exhibit.

"I remember going to the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago,"
O’Bannon said. "There must have been two or three doctors from each
team and all they wanted to do was poke and pull at my knee."

Selecting at No. 7, the expansion Toronto Raptors ignored the
hometown fans’ chants for O’Bannon and watched him slip to the New
Jersey Nets at the ninth spot.

"They got quite a guy at number nine," Harrick said. "I think
the concerns about his knee not holding up are bunk. Ed will be
fine."

O’Bannon, who played in 117 consecutive games in his UCLA career
after returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in January
of 1992, echoed his coach’s sentiments.

"I don’t know what all the fuss is all about," O’Bannon said.
"The knee feels good; my legs are strong. I just wear a sleeve on
my leg. I don’t even ice it."

Just 13 selections after O’Bannon, Zidek went to the Charlotte
Hornets. While Zidek was widely projected to last until the second
round, his impressive camp performance in Chicago and successful
workout with Charlotte moved him up.

"It’s exciting to be drafted but to go in the first round is
really exciting," Zidek said. "I had a really good workout and
(Charlotte’s) coaches seemed to like me, so I wasn’t totally
shocked."

Zidek is expected to spend several seasons backing up Hornet
center Alonzo Mourning, a process he has endured before.

"I only played 60 minutes in my first year at UCLA, but I just
lived in the gym, in the weight room, and my hard work paid off,"
Zidek said. "I’m just excited to go and learn from Alonzo, Larry
Johnson and (Robert) Parrish."

Initially thought to be a first-round pick and perhaps the
second true point guard taken behind Arizona’s Damon Stoudamire,
Edney was passed by more often than a Yugo. Sacramento eventually
grabbed him at No. 47.

"It was really frustrating because it was completely out of my
control," Edney said. "I was just sitting around and waiting,
wondering when something was going to happen."

As Edney sat, he watched fellow point guards Stoudamire (No. 7),
Travis Best of Georgia Tech. (No. 23), Corey Alexander of Virginia
(No. 29) and Eric Snow of Michigan State (No. 43) leap ahead of
him.

Edney attributed some of his draft day slip to not attending the
workouts in Chicago due to a broken thumb.

"Not being in Chicago didn’t help me at all," Edney said. "I
noticed that a lot of guys who had good camps went higher than
expected in the draft."

While some teams’ confidence in Edney waned, one day after the
draft, the Kings dealt starting point guard Spud Webb to Atlanta
for journeyman Tyrone Corbin. The deal allows Edney to contend for
the starting point guard position with Bobby Hurley.

"I think they realize they got the steal of the draft," Harrick
said. "They got a first-round pick at the No. 47 spot."

No Clippers here

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