Johnson Slips in Draft, Then Traded Twice

Former Florida State men's basketball player Alexander Johnson was a busy man on a disappointing night Wednesday. The former Seminole power forward slipped in the 2006 NBA Draft before being nabbed by the Indiana Pacers with the 45th selection overall. Johnson was then traded to the Portland Trailblazers who promptly sent him to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Mark it down as the 11th consecutive year that the Florida State men's basketball team was shut out of the first round of the NBA Draft.

But the Tribe wasn't denied altogether as former power forward Alexander Johnson was taken by the Indiana Pacers with the15th selection of the second round (45th overall) of Wednesday night's 2006 edition of the league's annual draft.

The athletic big man was then traded to the Portland Trailblazers for the rights to former Cincinnati guard James White and two future second-round draft picks. He was then sent to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future second-round selection.

After three seasons in the garnet and gold –- a collegiate career that ended prematurely when he elected to declare for early entry into the NBA -- the 6-foot-9 post-player now heads to a Memphis team that was said to be enamored with him since he worked out for Grizzlies President of Basketball Operations Jerry West on Tuesday.

Leading up to the draft, it appeared as though Johnson's stock had skyrocket after a string of impressive individual workouts. The Georgia native quickly made a name for himself as scouts began comparing him to the likes of NBA standouts Kenyon Martin and Antonio McDyess and was even penciled in anywhere from No. 17 to Indiana to Memphis' first-round selection at No. 24 in most mock drafts.

"He's a solid athlete. He's pretty darn athletic," ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said. "But he's one of those guys that would have benefited from an extra year."

Johnson's slip into the second round comes after a junior campaign in which he corrected a seemingly slipping Seminole career.

After flirting with the idea of transferring last summer, he hit the weight room and increased his practice routine in hopes of improving on a 2004-05 sophomore season that saw him average just 3.2 points per game. Shedding 20 pounds during the offseason and steadily increasing his on-court intensity throughout the year saw Johnson finish the 05-06 season with an average of 13.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game as well as a .540 field-goal and .706 free-throw percentage.

His turnaround was rewarded with an All-ACC Honorable Mention selection.

The last FSU player to be selected in the first round of the draft was Bob Sura, who was taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the17th pick in 1995. Johnson's second-round selection was the third for a Seminole player in as many years as guards Tim Pickett and Von Wafer were nabbed late in the draft process in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Nole Digest Top Stories