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Monday, May 20
Updated: Monday, May 20, 8:50 PM ET
Duffy cashes in after missing out on Yao
By Darren Rovell

Hours after it became apparent that basketball agent Bill Duffy had lost out on representing projected No. 1 pick, 7-foot-5 Yao Ming, officials from Duffy's agency -- BDA Sports Management -- made it clear that the company will have a large presence at the 2002 NBA draft.

On Monday evening, BDA announced the signing of six high-profile college players, including Kansas University forward Drew Gooden, University of Kentucky forward Tayshaun Prince, Kareem Rush and Clarence Gilbert from Missouri and Freddie Jones and Chris Christoffersen from the University of Oregon.

For underclassmen Gooden (junior) and Rush (junior), the hiring of an agent officially ends their collegiate careers, as they no longer have the option of returning to school under NCAA rules.

On April 23, Duffy signed Associated Press National Player of the Year Jay Williams of Duke.

"We are honored to be representing such an impressive group of fine young men who will all be quality additions to the NBA for many years to come," Duffy said, in a news release.

Duffy was previously an American advisor to Yao Ming and was in the running for the representation job, but ESPN.com reported on Sunday that Yao will be represented by his 28-year-old cousin, University of Chicago business school student Erik Zhang, and Zhang's economics professor John Huizinga. Duffy is the agent to the only current NBA players from China -- Wang ZhiZhi and Mengke Bateer.

In his latest mock draft, ESPN.com's Andy Katz projects Williams and Gooden as the second and third overall picks in the draft, which will take place on June 26 in New York. Kareem Rush is projected to be selected by the Portland Trailblazers at No. 21 and Prince is currently slotted at No. 26 to the San Antonio Spurs.

Duffy, who also represents current NBA players Steve Nash, Terrell Brandon and Rasho Nesterovich, is expected to have the most clients in the first round of the draft this year. Last year, SFX had a record 10 clients -- including No. 1 overall pick Kwame Brown, No. 4 Eddy Curry and No. 7 Eddie Griffin -- selected in the first round.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at darren.rovell@espn.com.

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