Thursday , Jun , 28 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Portland selects Oden with top pick

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Portland has selected Ohio State’s Greg Oden
with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

The Trail Blazers, who finished 32-50 in 2006-07 and did not qualify for the
playoffs for the fourth straight year, made the No. 1 choice in the draft for
the first time since 1978. They selected Minnesota big man Mychal Thompson
with the top pick that year.

Oden played just one season for the Buckeyes, who were defeated by the
Florida Gators in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament. The seven-foot
Oden averaged 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in 32 games.

The 19-year-old Oden is very athletic, plays strong on the defensive end
around the basket and runs the floor effectively. He is still developing his
low-post game offensively, but with more experience he will polish his moves
and could become a dominant force in the paint as a pro.

Fans in Portland are hoping picking Oden won’t be a case of deja vu. In the
1984 draft, the Trail Blazers selected Kentucky center Sam Bowie at No. 2
instead of North Carolina’s Michael Jordan, who was grabbed by Chicago with
the next pick. Jordan, who is arguably the greatest player to ever play the
game, won six titles and five MVP’s with the Bulls, while Bowie averaged 10.9
points in 511 games during an average 10-year career. The Kentucky product
played for Portland, New Jersey and the Lakers, and was hampered with injuries
throughout his career,

Portland also considered Texas forward Kevin Durant with the top pick, but
he’s expected to be selected second by Seattle. The multi-talented Durant is
also thought to be a can’t miss, franchise player. However, this time the
Trail Blazers were not going to pass up the chance to add a dominant center.
Oden joins a nucleus that already includes Rookie of the Year Brandon Roy,
point guard Jarrett Jack and forwards LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and
Travis Outlaw.