John R. Wooden Award Winners Drafted First Round

John R. Wooden Award Winners Drafted First Round

Following head-turning trades around the NBA, the Clippers started Thursday June 25th evening with top choice and 2009 John R. Wooden Award winner, Blake Griffin, the only player considered a sure thing for the 2009 draft.

Griffin was the consensus college player of the year after leading the nation with 14.4 rebounds per game while averaging 22.7 points last season for Oklahoma. He’ll be turning around the long-suffering Clippers in the upcoming season.

His disciplined style of play that rocketed him to the top of the nation in double-doubles, immediately won over Los Angeles.

The Clippers began a marketing campaign featuring Griffin the day after the lottery, and are hoping the forward turns out better than their last No. 1 overall pick.

Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird couldn’t hide his respect for North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, he hoped the forward would be available when the Pacers were ready to make the 13th pick Thursday night. Hansbrough was the 2008 John R. Wooden Award winner.

Bird is making Hansbrough a key part of his rebuilding effort, hoping the hardworking power forward brings a winning attitude to the struggling Pacers. Indiana has missed the playoffs the past three years.

Hansbrough led North Carolina to the NCAA title this past season. He lost a contact lens and got a bloody nose during a workout in Indianapolis last month.

He averaged 22.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as a junior, then averaged 20.7 points and 8.1 rebounds as a senior. He shot better than 50 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free-throw line both seasons.

This will be the second straight year the Pacers have added a player from the previous college national champion on draft night. Last year, Indiana got Kansas guard Brandon Rush in a trade with Portland

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