Former Tigers to tip off NBA season

Four former LSU men's basketball players are on the opening night rosters for teams in the National Basketball Association as play begins Tuesday night in the league.

A trade involving the Detroit Pistons and the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday sent Ronald Dupree to the Timberwolves. After his playing days at LSU, Dupree was selected as the first pick of the second round by Huntsville in the 2003 NBDL draft. He was signed by Chicago on a 10-day contract during the 2003-04 season and scored 18 points in his debut. Dupree was signed for the remainder of the season and then moved on to the Pistons for the 2004-05 campaign.

In 94 career NBA games, he has averaged 14.5 minutes per game and 4.7 points per game.

Stromile Swift will also be playing on a new team this season, moving after five seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies to the Houston Rockets. The second overall pick in the 2000 draft by the then Vancouver Grizzlies, Swift has played in 352 NBA contests, averaging 9.0 points per game and 5.0 rebounds a contest.

The newest member of the LSU NBA roster is Brandon Bass, who was a second round draft pick of the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. Bass and the Hornets make their debut at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City Tuesday night against the Sacramento Kings. Bass was the 2005 SEC Player and Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The veteran of the LSU group is Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal, entering his 14th season in the league after being the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic. O'Neal has about done it all since leaving LSU, Olympic medalist, one of the game's 50 greatest players, three-time MVP of the NBA Finals, 2000 MVP, nine-time all-star selection are just a few of his many accomplishments.

O'Neal played four years in Orlando, leading them to the NBA Finals before moving to the Los Angeles Lakers. In eight years in LA, O'Neal led the Lakers to back-to-back-to-back NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. This will be his second season with the Heat. So far in his career, he has played 882 games, averaging 26.7 points and 12.0 rebounds.

Houston, Minnesota and Miami open their seasons on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

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