Like fathers, like sons in NBA draft
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AP Photo NYFF122
By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK -- There must be something about basketball bloodlines.
Three players whose fathers played in the NBA were chosen in the top 15 picks of the draft Thursday night.
Stephen Curry, whose father Dell played in the league for 16 seasons, was taken with the seventh pick by Golden State. The nation's leading scorer last season as a junior at Davidson with a 28.6 average, Curry led the Wildcats within a game of the Final Four as a sophomore.
"You always dream that you want to do what your dad does, especially I went to the gym, shootaround, the locker room and all that stuff and that's all I know," Curry said. "I wanted to follow in his footsteps but I didn't think it would be a reality until pretty much my sophomore year in college."
Gerald Henderson, whose father with the same name played for 13 years in the NBA and was on three championship teams with Boston and one with Detroit, was selected 12th by Charlotte. Henderson was a third-team All-America at Duke last season as a junior, averaging 16.5 points.
"He just told me I made it," Henderson said of what his father told him when he was selected. "I worked so hard to get to this point, and he just congratulated me and told me I made it. It's good to hear those words."
Austin Daye, who left Gonzaga after his sophomore season, was taken 15th by Detroit. His father Darren played five seasons in the NBA. Daye averaged 12.7 points and shot 43 percent from 3-point range for the Zags last season.
"I was able to be a sponge growing up, absorb all the things that he said," Daye said of his father. "He's been a great mentor and he's definitely the person I looked up to the most."
At least one son of a former NBA player has been taken in the last seven drafts.
The run started in 2002 with Mike Dunleavy and continued with Luke Walton (2003), Jackson Vroman (2004), Sean May (2005), Ronnie Brewer (2006), Al Horford (2007) and Kevin Love and Patrick Ewing Jr. (2008).
CONFERENCE LOTTERY: Even though it was the NBA's night, there was still plenty of college rivalry on display at the draft.
The Atlantic Coast Conference had the most players taken in the first round with seven, one more than the Pac-10 and three more than the Big East. The Big 12, with two, was the only other conference with more than one played selected in the first round, which had 30 picks.
BOW TIE: It was easy to pick out James Harden when the future NBA players were having a group picture taken about a half hour before the draft. Harden was the only one with a bow tie.
After being taken with the third pick by Oklahoma City, the Arizona State guard was asked about his neck wear and if he tied it himself.
"No," he admitted quickly. "I tried it so many times, it wasn't working, so I had my stylist come up to me to give me a session to help me do it."
Harden, a native of Los Angeles, was taken by Oklahoma City, while Blake Griffin, a native of Oklahoma City, was taken No. 1 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Harden had an idea for Griffin.
"I told him we should switch, he should go to Oklahoma and I should go to LA, and everything would be great," Harden said. "Obviously it doesn't work that way."
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: Ricky Rubio, the 18-year-old guard from Spain, became the fifth-highest international player ever taken when Minnesota selected him with the No. 5 pick.
Six international players were taken in the first round, tying for the fifth-most since 1993. Nine international players were selected in the first round in 2003, eight went in 2004 and seven were chosen in 2000 and 2005. This was the seventh time six players were taken in the first round.
Two international players -- Yao Ming of China in 2002 by Houston and Andrea Bargnani of Italy in 2006 by Toronto -- were taken No. 1 overall. Darko Milicic of what was then Serbia-Montenegro, was chosen second overall by Detroit in 2003. Pau Gasol of Spain was taken No. 3 by Memphis in 2001.
Danilo Gallinari of Italy was taken sixth by New York last year.
Rubio played on Spain's team that won the silver medal behind the United States in Beijing.
"I realized in the Olympic Games that I'm feeling good in the game, so that moment, I realize that I can play here, and that helps me a lot," Rubio said.
The Spaniard had spoken during the week that his mother wouldn't be overly happy if he was taken by a team that plays in a cold climate.
Jonny Flynn was taken with the next pick by Minnesota, and the native of Buffalo, N.Y., who played at Syracuse was ready to help his new teammate.
"He's coming from Spain. I don't think it ever snows there," Flynn said. "I can give him what kind of clothes to buy and what snowshoes to buy and things like that, and it will be fun."
SENIOR CLASS: Terrence Williams of Louisville was the first senior taken in the draft with the 11th selection by New Jersey.
"It says a lot. It says, you stay in school four years, it does pay off or you," he said. "To go 11, some people call it a weak draft. I call it a great draft."
TAXING SITUATION: Demar DeRozan was selected by the Toronto Raptors and he was asked if his agent was happy with that selection considering the onerous tax system in Canada.
"He's glad for me to go a team like this, I think this was one of the best situations for me," the Southern California freshman said. "We are figuring out about the tax system, so right now I am just enjoying this. I've got to save all the receipts, that's one thing I'm going to do."
BIG 12: Blake Griffin became the first player from the Big 12 taken with the overall No. 1 pick. The conference expanded from the Big 8 in 1996, and the Big 12 did have an impressive streak broken when Griffin was taken by the Los Angeles Clippers.
A Big 12 player was taken second overall the last three years: LaMarcus Aldridge of Texas by Chicago in 2006; Kevin Durant of Texas by Seattle in 2007; and Michael Beasley of Kansas State by Miami last year.
Griffin was the first Oklahoma player ever taken No. 1 overall. Wayman Tisdale, who died in May at age 44, was the second pick by Indiana in 1985.
TIGER TALES: It's been good to be a freshman point guard for the Memphis Tigers in the last two NBA drafts.
This year, the Sacramento Kings made Tyreke Evans, who led the Tigers to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament and a No. 3 ranking in the final poll, the fourth pick.
Unlike Rose, who came into the program as a point guard, Evans moved to that position during the season.
"It was crazy. I was playing in the game against Syracuse, and the next day Coach told me I was the point guard. I didn't know what to do," he said. "... I got the ball and it just started from there in practice."
It was the first time Sacramento had a pick in the top five since 1991, when it selected Billy Owens of Syracuse at No. 3.
TALKING NEW YORK: Jordan Hill of Arizona was taken with the eighth pick by New York, and he was asked if he's prepared for a media market known for its obsession with sports talk radio.
"I have no problem talking, so I just have to make sure I say the right things," he said. "I'm definitely ready for it."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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