By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

Forget who went where and when. To real fans, the NBA draft is the ultimate parade of style hits and misses. Page 2 surveys the fashion scene:

Jay Williams
Allsport
Despite winding up on the Bulls, Jay Williams was at least a fashion winner.

The players
Big Winner: It must be a height thing. Guards just seem to wear suits better than big men. Picking up where '01 Draft-Style Big Winner Tony Parker left off, Jay Williams stole the show with a dazzling dark number, perfectly accessorized with a white hankie. Gazundheit isn't the next great Euro player, baby, it's a fashion way of life!

Other Winners: Local-boy-makes-good Dajuan Wagner shook off the Memphis to deliver with a downtown black-on-black combo that killed like his pull-up jumpshot. ... We fully expected Nene Hilario to bring a green-and-yellow combo in honor of his countrymen on the Brazilian soccer team, but instead he brought the brightest smile of the night and a tan suit that reminded us of the best of the '01 draft.... Nikoloz Tskitishvili nailed the "bar-mitzvah boy" look with his gray suit, white shirt and maroon tie....

More That's In: Casey Jacobsen, with his black-and-white throwback spats. C-Jake almost stole the show from J-Will, but he didn't get our pre-draft memo: Your draft date may be hot, but those dated frosty highlights in your hair are not.

Losers: First things first -- Drew Gooden and Melvin Ely looked like they had windbreakers on. Fellas, those fancy collars may have cost a pretty penny, but they sure didn't wear that way.

Next, Kareem Rush apparently didn't heed our advice for Eddie Griffin last year, so we'll say it again: Button that suit jacket before stepping up to the podium with the commish. Comfort is fleeting, young man, but those pictures on stage are forever.

Meanwhile, some things don't change -- pinstripes are still a cheesy look (who dressed you, Dei Lynam? We know that there may not be a Prada in Beijing, but my God!), not to mention cornrows have been out for half a season. So someone tell us who's been giving Chris Wilcox advice? Put this at the top of your to-do list in Los Angeles.: (1) Fire agent. Hire fashion consultant.

Special exemption: Yao Ming. At first glance, we were tempted to say something catty, like, "A billion people and someone can't scrounge you up a golf shirt?" But the inevitable advance of capitalism into China -- symbolized by the nation's draft picks dressing for the occasion -- is a slow, often-painful process. Ah, the fashion prices we pay for democracy.

The TV crew

Nikoloz Tskitishvili
AP
David Stern congratulates Nikoloz Tskitishvili, right, on becoming a man.

Winners: It's Kenny Smith's world, and everyone else just lives in it. Tan suit, pink shirt, pink tie, and Kenny earns his second straight trip to the All-Style Draft-Night Team. (But Kenny, baby, it ain't cool to trash the Internationals!) And let's give props to the ageless Hubie Brown, whose hair says, "I don't care," but whose suit said, "You bet I like those foreign players, Ernie!" Dark suit, white shirt, dark tie ... he succeeds with simplicity.

Losers: Dei, Dei, Dei ... we'll be kind and stop there. (Well, one comment: Is it us, or was that the TNT logo hanging around her neck?) ... Rookie commentator Quin Snyder -- known for his good locks -- seemed to get the frizzies in the unseasonable New York humidity. What happened to the hair gel contract, coach? ... He may be the Czar of the Telestrator, but Mike Fratello just looked biz-czar in his pinstripes. What, did he and Wilcox go to the same tailor? ... We all knew Craig Sager would do some damage with a blinding ("Valencia cr&eagrave;me," his words) jacket, but did he have to use his interview post as a dating service? ... It's a good thing we only saw Peter Vecsey once. Did the directors pull him because of his lack of scoops -- or because of that hideous horizontal number he was sporting?

Still Thinking About It: Heather Cox's bangs ... Cheryl Miller's olive blouse ... Charles Barkley's mock turtleneck.

The Green Room

Kareem Rush
AP
Kareem Rush wasn't on the button.

The draft fashion show has always been -- and will always be -- about the moms. My mom manages to well up with tears at least once every draft broadcast, seeing how happy the draftees' moms are for their own sons. Alas, it only gives me a complex. But I digress ...

There are no losers among the family, posses and assorted hangers-on in the green room. Only winners, among them being: Althea Williams, matching son Jay style-for-style in a gorgeous black sequined number ... Ulla Lear, Drew Gooden's mom, in a lovely gray dress ... Lisa Paulk, Wagner's mom, in black to match her son. (Wagner pere went with monochromatic gray to go with his scene-stealing green envy during the post-pick national interview.) ... Debra Brown, Wilcox's mom, outscored her son in a black suit of her own.... Mattie Butler seemed nonplussed by her son Caron's draft position, accompanying him to the post-pick interview in a smart black jacket-skirt combo that was overshadowed by the jewel around her neck.... Black outfits, as always, were in abundance, but two moms went noticeably in white: Janie Haislip, mother of Marcus, had on a white suit, nicely accessorized with a black handkerchief, and Emily Dunleavy also wore a nice cr&eagrave;me outfit.... We have nothing but good things to say about Ron O'Tatum, Butler's bodyguard-uncle -- he looks good in whatever he says he looks good in.

Front-office fabulous ... Or fatal

Jerry West
AP
Double down, Jerry West.

Jerry West can wear what he wants, he's that cool (but here's a reminder that only dealers get to wear the mock turtles, so let's see something soon, OK?) ... Staying in Memphis, Sidney Lowe looked a bit uncomfortable in his black polo shirt, buttoned to the top ... as opposed to, say, possible Grizzlies coaching candidate Mike Dunleavy Sr., who showed at the Garden in a nice-looking dark suit. (What was going on, however, with that "cac-tie"? At least cinch it to the collar ... if not put it at the back of the rack.) ... Apparently, the Houston management was so concerned with signing Yao that they forgot to check the mirror before coming on TV. Rudy T was sporting a ruddy orange short-sleeve lounge shirt, while GM Carroll Dawson pulled a brown jacket from the back of the office closet. With that second-round pick, "CD," we'd suggest drafting a pair of glasses made after 1977.

Hat's off

Dajuan Wagner
AP
From way downtown, bang! Dajuan Wagner.

So you're going shopping this weekend for a new lid -- one that represents the shifting balance of power in the NBA based on the draft night's dealings and something you might soon see on the head of your favorite celebrity or in a new music video. To help your hipness quotient, here are the Top 5 NBA hats you'll want to keep in your rotation:

5. Grizzlies
4. Warriors
3. Cavaliers
2. Clippers
1. Nuggets

And, yes, there is an inverse correlation between cool hats and current team success. After all, teams that are cool are teams with potential, and teams with potential are teams that generally aren't doing too well.

And if you want the jump on what will be the hottest jersey coming out of this year's rookie class, be on the lookout for Dajuan Wagner's No. 2 Cavs jersey, Jay Williams' No. 22 Bulls jersey and Frank Williams' No. 30 Knicks jersey.

NBA draft night All-Style Team
Melvin Ely's mom
Casey Jacobsen's girlfriend
Kenny Smith
Dajuan Wagner
Jay Williams

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "What's Hot, What's Not" trend-spotting guide appears on Thursdays. Due to excessive New York heat, he sported highly unfashionable T-shirt and shorts to watch the draft.




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Shanoff
HOUSE OF STYLE