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June 29, 2012 at 6:26 AM

Big night for Ross, Wroten, UW and Pac-12

Banner night for Washington with former star Terrence Ross going earlier than expected in the NBA draft to Toronto with the No. 8 pick and Tony Wroten Jr. landing where many expected late in the first round at No. 25 with Memphis.
In fact it was a good night for the much-maligned Pac-12, which had three first-round picks, including Oregon State’s Jared Cunningham. The Beavers snapped a 14-year drought of not having a player drafted when Dallas took the high-flying guard at No. 24.
OSU had the longest streak among major-conference teams of not having a player taken in the draft. Northwestern, Penn State and Nebraska (14 years) are co-leaders atop that list.
Last year, the Pac-12 produced three first-round picks after the 2010 draft when former UW star Quincy Pondexter was the only player selected from the conference.
Ross drew raves from several draft observers, including Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala, for being the best dressed person at the draft. Got to admit, that’s a snazzy emerald green bow tie.
Ross joins a coaching staff with Seattle connections. Toronto coach Dwane Casey was the former Sonics associate head coach and Raptors assistant Eric Hughes was an assistant at Washington.
Casey said he began scouting Ross during the NBA lockout and watched him practice at UW. Casey credits Ross’ mother Marcine for developing Terrence’s jump shot.
Casey also said he has a good relationship with UW’s coaching staff particularly Lorenzo Romar and assistant Raphael Chillious. You can watch the video interview of Casey (below).
Toronto president Bryan Colangelo envisions Ross will move former USC star DeMar DeRozan, the No. 9 pick in 2009, to small forward.
Meanwhile judging from the early reports in Memphis, it seems Perry Jones III would have been a popular pick. Instead the Grizzlies chose Wroten.
He joins a crowded Memphis backcourt that includes Mike Conley, Tony Allen, O.J. Mayo and Gilbert Arenas.
There also seems to some concern if Memphis coach Lionel Hollins, who has a reputation of having a short leash with rookies, will play Wroten.
Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace has sobering advice for Wroten.
“That is Tony Wroten’s charge to recruit Lionel Hollins now,” Wallace said. “We don’t tell him (Hollins) who to play. He (Wroten) has got to come in and hit the ground running, starting tomorrow.”
During his post-draft interview, Wallace didn’t sound overly enthusiastic about Wroten.
At one point he referred to him as “Probably, one of the most productive freshmen in the country. We will see what he has now.”
But he also said: “He’s got some growing up to do, but he really wants to be here. We will find out his commitment starting tomorrow.”
Almost every time Wallace praised Wroten, he followed it with a concern.
“He is one of the most talented passers in this draft, although he has to cut down on his turnovers,” Wallace said. “He is a little bit of a home-run hitter that strikes out sometimes with the turnovers, but he can really pass the ball.”
Wallace began the interview saying: “This was a best available talent upside pick. He probably doesn’t address a specific need. He is not a shooter. He may become a point guard, in time. Critics say he’s not one now, but he does have ball handling skills. I believe the draft is about adding talent to your team. Free agency and trading are more need directed with NBA players that we know better. He was the highest ranked guy.”
When asked about his defense during a Thursday conference call, Wroten said: “Point guard is probably collectively the toughest position, because there are so many good players there. I take defense very personally. I take it personally if someone scores on me. I definitely lock down on defense, and I’d rather shut down somebody on defense than score on them.”
Wallace added: He’s got a chance to be an excellent defender once he gets locked-in to what it takes to defend in the NBA. He is 6-6 so he gives us a long, rangy guard that can make plays with the ball and play in the open floor. He has his defensive potential.”
You can read the full transcript from Wroten’s interview (below).


WROTEN’S CONFERENCE CALL:
(On being selected in the 2012 NBA Draft) “I was looking on Twitter, and I saw somebody saying that I was going to Memphis. I thought that was just a prediction, but then I got that text and it was surreal. I heard my name called and it was crazy. I was just speechless. I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, but being a Memphis Grizzly was a dream come true, so I just broke down.”
(On the city of Memphis) “We had Nationals in Memphis and I just loved it. I loved the city and the community. Whenever I heard I could be going there, I wanted to really make a strong impact. I told my coach and everybody else that I would do everything to become a Grizzly.”
(On playing for Coach Lionel Hollins) “Just listen, be focused, and be strong. Once you get to the NBA, it’s your job. You have to listen and be willing to get better.”
(On his position) “I can definitely be a combo guard. I would love to play point guard a little, but I can guard a 2 or a 3 sometimes. Being a combo guard is a great choice for me.”
(On his defense) “Point guard is probably collectively the toughest position, because there are so many good players there. I take defense very personally. I take it personally if someone scores on me. I definitely lock down on defense, and I’d rather shut down somebody on defense than score on them.”
(On his role with the Grizzlies) “This is a great team. I’ve seen them make the playoffs and get a lot of wins. They’ve got great people. I feel like I’ll be coming in and helping them out a lot. I just want to come in and do whatever it takes to help this team win.”

Comments | Topics: NBA, top 25

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