Warrick Selected #19 by Memphis Grizzlies

Hakim Warrick was selected #19 in the NBA draft by the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday evening. Warrick joins a Grizzlies team that is expected to undergo significant changes in the off-season and is unlikely to keep current frontcourt players Bonzi Wells and Stromile Swift. With the lack of depth in the Memphis frontcourt, Warrick should have the opportunity to compete for immediate playing time.

Projected by most draft gurus to be selected at either #9 by the Golden State Warriors or #15 by the New Jersey Nets, Warrick watch nervously as he was bypassed in favor of Ike Diogu (GS) and Antoine Wright (NJ). For a time, it looked as though Warrick would fall to Denver at #20 to be reunited with former teammate Carmelo Anthony, but Memphis GM Jerry West swooped in just before the Nuggets' pick to nab the high-flying Warrick. Now he will be teamed with exciting (and sometimes erratic) point guard Jason Williams. And images of alley-oops danced in my head...

Warrick finished his Syracuse career with 2,073 points and 1,024 rebounds, placing him at #4 overall in both categories. He turned in a dominant senior season, winning the 2005 Big East Player of the Year award while also hauling in 2nd team All-American status. The "Condor" saved his best for last, with two unforgettable performances in his final games in the Carrier Dome (35 and 36 pts!). He was also named Most Outstanding Player of the Big East Tournament after leading the 'Cuse to its first title since 1992. During his last 6 Big East games, Warrick dominated to the tune of 27.5 ppg, 9.7 reb, 52% fg, and 76.5% ft.

Unfortunately, his individual excellence was not enough to propel Syracuse deep into the NCAA tourney, as the Orangemen lost a shocker to Vermont in the first round. Warrick gave everything he had, turning in 20 points and 10 boards while leading a spirited comeback to force overtime. Still, Hakim will be best remembered for his incredible block of Michael Lee's three-point attempt in the waning seconds of the 2003 National Championship game. This indelible image is worth a thousand T.J. Sorrentine jumpers any day of the week.

Tonight's selection strengthens an already proud tradition of Syracuse players being drafted by the NBA. Twelve former SU players have been taken in the last 15 years, five of which have come since 2000. Warrick is the 7th SU player taken in within the first 20 picks since 1986. A recap of the SU players chosen over the last 20 years of the draft is shown below:

Year Player Team Round (Pick)
2005 Hakim Warrick Memphis Grizzlies 1 (19)
2003 Carmelo Anthony Denver Nuggets 1 (3)
2001 Damone Brown Philadelphia 76ers 2 (42)
2000 Etan Thomas Dallas Mavericks 1 (12)
2000 Jason Hart Milwaukee Bucks 2 (49)
1996 John Wallace New York Knicks 1 (18)
1995 Lawrence Moten Vancouver Grizzlies 2 (36)
1993 Conrad McRae Washington Bullets 2 (38)
1992 Dave Johnson Portland Trailblazers 1 (26)
1991 Billy Owens Sacramento Kings 1 (3)
1991 LeRon Ellis Los Angeles Clippers 1 (22)
1990 Derrick Coleman New Jersey Nets 1 (1)
1989 Sherman Douglas Miami Heat 2 (28)
1988 Rony Seikaly Miami Heat 1 (9)
1987 Howard Triche New York Knicks 6 (117)
1986 Pearl Washington New Jersey Nets 1 (13)
1986 Rafael Addison Phoenix Suns 2 (39)
1986 Wendell Alexis Golden State Warriors 3 (59)

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