Magic night for Howard
New York, NY (Sports Network) – High School phenom Dwight Howard was
selected by the Orlando Magic with the top overall pick in the 2004 NBA
Howard becomes the third high school player taken No. 1, joining Kwame Brown
(Washington, 2001) and LeBron James (Cleveland, 2003).
Howard was voted Naismith Prep Player of the Year in 2004 and was also a
McDonald’s All-American during his senior year at Southwest Atlanta Christian
The 6-11, 240-pound forward was the co-MVP of “Big Time” when his Atlanta
Celtics captured the tournament title.
The expansion Charlotte Bobcats, who moved up two spots in the draft via a
trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, took University of Connecticut center
Emeka Okafor with the second pick.
The All-America center led the Huskies to the 2004 national championship and
skipped his senior campaign for NBA stardom. He joins a Magic squad that
finished 21-61 last season.
Okafor, who battled back spasms throughout UConn’s postseason run, was the
Big East Player of the Year this past season and was a finalist for the Wooden
and Naismith Awards as national player of the year.
The 6-foot-10 star was UConn’s second-leading scorer, averaging 17.6 points
per game, and led the Huskies with an average of 11.5 rebounds per outing. He
finished his career with a dominating 24-point, 15-rebound performance in an
82-73 victory over Georgia Tech in the national championship game.
Okafor is one of just four players in UConn history with 1,000 points and
1,000 rebounds, and also finished his collegiate career with a school-record
441 blocked shots.
Chicago held the third selection and chose Connecticut point guard Ben Gordon.
Gordon declared for the draft following his junior season with the Huskies.
His 1,795 points at UConn ranks him sixth in school history.
Gordon was named to the All-Big East First Team following the 2003-04 campaign
as well as the Final Four All-Tournament team.
The Los Angeles Clippers received the fourth and 33rd picks in the draft
courtesy of the trade with Charlotte and used the No. 4 selection to take
another high school star, point guard Shaun Livingston.
Livingston had little trouble dominating at every phase of his high school
career with Peoria Central. He shot 52.4 percent from the floor during his
four years and posted a career-best 18 points-per-game average as a senior,
while also pulling down 6.2 rebounds and handing out 5.7 assists per outing.
Wisconsin point guard Devin Harris was chosen fifth by the Washington Wizards.
Harris led the Badgers to a school-record 25 wins in 2003-04, earning himself
Big Ten Player of the Year honors. He was runner-up for the Bob Cousy
Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award and was a unanimous All-Big Ten First
Team selection after averaging a career-best 19.5 points per game.