Pendergraph Elated with NBA Draft Outcome

Being drafted by the NBA is naturally enough to put a smile on the face of the lucky player who got selected. However, being picked by the team that was atop of your choice list will probably kick up the happiness level a good few notches. Jeff Pendergraph endured some anxious moments during the draft, but being ultimately being picked by the Portland Trailblazers was worth the wait.

In interviews prior to the draft, Jeff Pendergraph said that he wouldn't be disappointed if he wasn't picked in the first round. Nonetheless, he was too nervous to watch the television set as the last few picks of the first round draft winded down.

"When the first round was over," Pendergraph recalled, "I was like ‘dang, I didn't get picked.' I was really intense the whole time just waiting to hear my name called. It was like selection Sunday (laughs).

And then I hear everyone at my house just going bananas, so I'm thinking something good has just happened. I find out Sacramento drafted me with the first pick of the second round. I was happy and also surprised because I barely talked to them. I never worked out with them so I never knew they were interested."

And that was true, the Kings weren't interested in Pendergraph, but rather made the selection for the Portland Trailblazers who gave up Sergio Rodriguez, the draft rights to former Washington forward Jon Brockman (No. 38 overall) and cash for Pendergraph's draft rights.

Pendergraph got the word of the trade a few moments after Sacramento picked him. "My agent told me about the trade," Pendergraph said, ‘And I was saying ‘are you serious?' It was pretty crazy but I was happy. This is the team I wanted to go to all along. So things worked out pretty well. I really couldn't ask for much more.

"I had a really good workout there. I obviously know Coach McMillan very well, but I don't think he was the biggest reason why the Trailblazers drafted me. They had their scouts watch me a lot too."

Pendergraph culminated his four-year career with Arizona State averaging 12.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 1.04 bpg and a 58 percent shooting percentage. As the team's senior leader, he led the nation in field goal shooting at 66 percent and earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors. He set school records for games played (126) and started (120).

The outgoing ASU senior, along with James Harden were the first tandem of Sun Devils to be drafted in the same year, since 1983 when Byron Scott and Paul Williams were selected. In Pendergraph's mind, that fact is just a continuation of one the best seasons in Sun Devil basketball history.

"It's like the cherry on the top of the awesome year we had," Pendergraph remarked. "It shows that we have a good team and I know there will be more players drafted from ASU in the next few years."

Pendergraph added that he didn't have a chance to talk to Harden during or after the draft. And concerning Harden's decision to wear a purple bowtie on draft day the forward quipped "I wish he had talked to me first."

Pendergraph is expected to be introduced to the Portland media in a team press conference later this week. The forward knows that he has to continue and hone his skills from his successful senior campaign, but at the same time he will also be starting from square one as he beings his professional career.

"Obviously the way I play is what brought me here," Pendergraph said. "But I know it's a different level that I never played in before so I'm starting from scratch. I have a great opportunity here. There's not a lot expected from me, but I know that if I'll play hard every day I'll be rewarded for that."

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