Bass stays home in bayou state

LSU's Brandon Bass, the 2005 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, was chosen by the New Orleans Hornets with the third pick of the second round in the National Basketball Association draft held Tuesday night in New York City.

Bass was the 33rd pick of the draft and the first for the LSU Tigers basketball team since both Stromile Swift and Jabari Smith were taken in the 2000 NBA Draft. Swift was the No. 2 pick in the draft by Vancouver and Smith was the 45th pick of the draft by Sacramento.

Bass' name was mentioned on the ESPN telecast just a few moments before his selection by analyst Jay Bilas in a reference to the final pick of the first round, David Lee of Florida, by the New York Knicks.

ESPN said in its broadcast it is a 1-in-4 shot for players in the second round to make teams with 60 percent of the rosters made up of first rounders, 24 percent second rounders and 16 percent undrafted players. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, rosters will expand beginning next season to 14 players.

This season, Bass averaged 17.3 points per game and 9.1 rebounds a contest (second in the league). Bass hit 56.7 percent from the field (181-of-319, leading the SEC) and 77.7 percent from the free throw line (146-of-188). Along with player of the year honors in the league, the Baton Rouge native who entered the draft after his sophomore season, earned honorable mention All-American honors from the Associated Press.

Bass said Tuesday night that he had talked to Byron Scott, the coach of the Hornets and "he was telling me that he is excited about me coming down there. I just feel blessed. I can't feel bad. I think the Hornets are a great situation. I'm glad that this will give the fans of LSU and Baton Rouge and New Orleans a chance to watch me grow in the NBA."

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