The independent news organization of Duke University

Draft day dreams

IT WASN’T SHAVLIK Randolph’s failure to be drafted by the NBA in late June that left basketball devotees with raised eyebrows but the Raleigh native’s choice to enter and remain in the draft in the first place.

Speculation ran rampant on Internet bulletin boards, claiming Randolph’s decision to join the draft was prompted by everything from interactions with Coach K to decreased playing time coming next year. Other fans questioned whether academic problems or family financial issues could have pushed Randolph to take a premature exit from Duke.

Most sports afficianados expect that Randolph will try to get a potential contract in a summer league, but if he finds no success, the forward will most likely head to the new NBA Developmental League or the international front—all in hopes of one day making an NBA roster.

Once the most heralded recruit of his high school class and a potential NBA first-round pick had he skipped college altogether, Randolph averaged a career 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game at Duke, as suffering through injuries and illness prevented him from ever playing an uninterrupted season.

He worked out for a number of NBA teams in the weeks leading up to the draft and said he received positive feedback. But as draft day came and went and Randolph’s name went unsaid, so did his immediate NBA hopes.

“Kids have dreams, and I don’t see how you can fault a kid,” Mike Krzyzewski said about Randolph turning pro. “His dream is to do it right now, and he is committed to it. And who knows? He might be better to do it now because that is what he believes he should do.”

After the parade of Carolina Blue made its way past NBA commissioner David Stern and onto riches during the draft, another Tobacco Road player’s dreams were realized.

Senior Daniel Ewing sat at his home in Texas anxiously waiting as Stern and Russ Granik, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, announced each pick in the first and second rounds, respectively.

Granik finally approached the podium to say, “With the 32nd pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select Daniel Ewing from Duke University.”

“It was really a relief,” Ewing said. “It’s really a big relief and a blessing just to have this opportunity.”

Ewing has quietly gone about his business, just as he did during four successful seasons in Durham. Many analysts didn’t even include last year’s winningest player in college basketball on their draft boards, but Ewing’s name was the second called in the second round. And while many in the sports world were surprised the Blue Devil went so high, Ewing wasn’t. In fact, he was a little disappointed he wasn’t chosen sooner.


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