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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bulls pick Rose No. 1


Staff writer

NEW YORK (AP) Derrick Rose is going home, and a record crowd of freshmen are following him to the NBA.

News photo
Sunshine State smile: Forward Michael Beasley responds to a question at a news conference Thursday after he was taken as the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft by the Miami Heat. AP PHOTO

The Chicago Bulls selected Rose, who grew up on the city's South Side, with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night, choosing the Memphis guard over Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.

With Beasley going second to Miami and Minnesota picking O.J. Mayo at No. 3, college freshmen made up the first three picks for the first time in draft history.

"We actually talked about this earlier," Beasley said. "We all grew up together and we all grew up playing against each other and we all made a pact together that we would all be here. Just to see it all fall into place and see it all happen is kind of crazy."

Five of the first seven players selected were freshmen, also an NBA record. It was also a big night for the Pac-10 Conference, which had five of the first 11 picks.

Rose led the Tigers to the national championship game in his lone college season. The Bulls opted for the point guard's play-making ability over the scoring and rebounding of Beasley, who ranked in the top three in the nation in both categories.

Rose is the Bulls' first No. 1 overall selection since they grabbed Elton Brand in 1999. He's the second straight freshman taken with the top pick, following Portland's Greg Oden last year.

The 190-cm guard put on a red Bulls cap, hugged some supporters, including Memphis coach John Calipari, and shook hands with Beasley, seated at a nearby table, before walking onto the stage to meet NBA commissioner David Stern.

"I was a little nervous when they came back out, but I always had that in mind that I want to be No. 1," Rose said. "So it was great hearing my name and being the No. 1 pick."

Rose should be an upgrade over Kirk Hinrich, who now could be traded, and gives the Bulls another option if they don't re-sign guard Ben Gordon.

Expected to contend for a division title, the Bulls instead stumbled to a 33-49 record and eventually replaced two coaches. But with just a 1.7 percent chance, they won last month's draft lottery, giving them a chance to quickly return to the playoffs.

"It feels great to go in and compete," Rose said. "I'm just blessed to be in that position right now, because a lot of people aren't. And just knowing that we are a few pieces away from really contending as a team, it just makes me happy."

Miami settled for Beasley at No. 2, even though he wasn't sure if the Heat would go for Mayo instead.

Beasley averaged 26.2 points, third in the nation, and topped Division I with 12.4 rebounds per game. But with questions about his size — he may be 5 cm shorter than the 208 cm he's listed at — the Bulls may not have believed he could play the 4 spot in the NBA.

T-Wolves deal Mayo

MINNEAPOLIS, (AP) The Minnesota Timberwolves have traded No. 3 pick O.J. Mayo to the Memphis Grizzlies for Kevin Love in an eight-player, late-night blockbuster long after the NBA Draft concluded.

A person with knowledge of the deal confirmed it, speaking on the condition on anonymity because the trade had yet to be officially announced.

The Timberwolves also received shooter Mike Miller and frontcourt retreads Brian Cardinal and Jason Collins from Memphis in exchange for the draft rights to Mayo, forward Antoine Walker and guards Marko Jaric and Greg Buckner.



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