Draft strategy turns Brockman into a King

SEATTLE - It took all of Jon Brockman's strength not to let the cat out of the bag, but he was on orders. His agents, Greg Lawrence and Bob Myers of the Wasserman Group, had a plan set up for the former Washington forward after he tore up the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Virginia.

It paid off Thursday, as Brockman was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers with the 38th pick in the NBA Draft, then traded to Sacramento with Sergio Rodriguez for the rights to Jeff Pendergraph.

Former UW Center Spencer Hawes also plays for Sacramento, and he's known Brockman for the better part of 10 years. He was on his way back home from Las Vegas when he got a text telling him that Brockman was going to become a King.

"I thought someone might be joking with me," Hawes told Dawgman.com Thursday night. "Then the call came in from the front office and the war room, and they told me that it was going to be (Jon) Brockman and if you can get a hold of him, let him know."

Hawes, was also on the phone with his father Jeff. Jeff, along with Lisa, Spencer's mother and Spencer's sister, were with the Brockmans. Jeff gave the phone to Brockman, who got the news about five seconds before he saw it live: The Portland Trailblazers had selected him with the 38th pick. But Brockman already knew a trade was in the works with Sacramento, so the two would be teammates once again.'

"You're my rookie," was all Hawes could get in before the pick. It's all he needed to say.

"We are ecstatic," Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar said Thursday night. He was with Brockman and his family celebrating the good news. "I'm so excited and proud of Jon. He did everything in his power to be a team guy for four years. It's a lot of fun that he's going to be able to join Spencer Hawes as well."

"It's truly a dream come true," added Brockman. "I don't think I could have asked for a better situation."

On Thursday Hawes spoke to everyone in the organization involved with the draft besides the Sacramento President of Basketball Operations, Geoff Petrie. "I told them, he's exactly what we need and I think he'd be a great pick," Hawes said of Brockman. "But it wasn't anything I said; it was his play and his reputation that proceeded him and got him into that position. I was just trying to do my part, but it was nothing I did. They've liked him for a while, and they've had their eyes on him."

According to Romar, the Kings had scouts at Portsmouth. All Brockman did during the three games he played was average a double-double. His agents could sense the buzz generated by their client's play, so instead of pushing even harder, they pulled Jon back into the shadows. "They really believed that being that forbidden fruit would work in my favor," he said. "I put it all in their hands. After that, we just decided it would help me even more if I went into hiding. It was tough for me."

As a result, Brockman's draft status became a huge mystery. There were thoughts that he had come to an informal agreement with a team, and that was the reason why he was not working out and going through a normal pre-draft routine. He confirmed Thursday night that he had no handshake deals with any NBA team prior to the draft, and that he was just as stunned to be picked by the Kings as he would have any other team.

"I was just following the advice of my agents," he said.

And just as his handlers suspected, there were teams out there that had plenty of information on the three-time All-Pac-10 top rebounder and UW's No. 2 all-time scorer. He had cemented his reputation as being a junk-yard dog, a player that would do whatever it took to make a play, to get the ball, to help his team win games. Most of all, he had earned his stripes as one of the top rebounders in the college game.

"If you rebound, a coach will find a way to put you on the floor," Romar said, matter-of-factly, adding that many years ago a pro coach told him that if you were 6-7 and could get a rebound every three minutes, you'd find a spot in the league.

Welcome to the NBA, Jon Brockman.

"I'm overwhelmed," he said.

Brockman will be on a plane first thing Friday morning to Sacramento, and Hawes will no doubt be there as part of his welcoming party. There might even be a room available at Spencer's pad, in case Brockman needs a place to crash right away.

"I think I'll be looking to get my own place, though," he said with a chuckle.
Notes:
Five Teams in the Mix: Brockman said he felt that there were five teams involved in dealing for his services: Milwaukee ( with the No. 41 pick), Sacramento (at 31 or 38), San Antonio, Cleveland or Portland. And when it was all said and done, he was right on the money.

AAU connection: I don't know how many teammates can say they played together on three different levels, but Brockman and Hawes can certainly make that claim. They played on Seattle Friends of Hoop, at the University of Washington, and now with Sacramento. And if Portland had kept the 38th pick, he would have been reunited with two former teammates: Martell Webster, one of Hawes' teammates at Seattle Prep and Friends of Hoop; and Brandon Roy, who played with Brockman at Washington.

Quite a celebration: Romar was also with Brockman and his family, and he said the celebration that ensued after the pick was very reminiscent of when the Huskies got picked for the NCAA tournament. "It was a great scene," he said.

Good day for the Pac-10: Overall, nine Pac-10 players were drafted on Thursday night: James Harden (No. 3 to Oklahoma City), Jordan Hill (No. 8 to New York), DeMar Derozan (No. 9 to Toronto), Jrue Holiday (No. 17 to Philadelphia), Darren Collison (No. 21 to New Orleans), Taj Gibson (No. 26 to Chicago), Jeff Pendergraph (No. 31 to Portland), Brockman (No. 38 to Sacramento) and Chase Budinger (No. 44 to Detroit). Romar thought that Budinger and Holiday would go higher, but the number of picks was definitely a testament to the strength of the conference.

Also, former Rainier Beach star Terrence Williams was plucked by New Jersey with the No. 11 pick, and fomer Arizona signee Brandon Jennings went No. 10 to Milwaukee.


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