NBA draft: ACC Triangle teams have it covered

jgiglio@newsobserver.comJune 26, 2014 

The Triangle had the first round of Thursday night’s NBA draft covered from top to bottom.

For the first time since 1992, Duke, North Carolina and N.C. State each produced a first-round pick.

The Blue Devils had two players go in the first round, including freshman forward Jabari Parker No. 2 overall to the Milwaukee Bucks.

N.C. State sophomore T.J. Warren joined Parker in the lottery, going No. 14 to the Phoenix Suns. Parker’s Duke teammate Rodney Hood went No. 23 to the Utah Jazz and former North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston completed the Triangle sweep by going No. 26 to the Miami Heat, who subsequently agreed to trade the pick to the Charlotte Hornets.

Before the draft, Parker made no secret about his desire to start his career near his hometown of Chicago. Parker averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds in his lone season at Duke.

The 6-foot-8 forward was in the running for the No. 1 overall pick. When the the Cleveland Cavaliers went with Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins, Parker got the consolation of playing a 90-minute drive from Chicago.

“I’m really excited,” Parker said on the ESPN telecast. “I get to represent the city of Chicago, but also the city of Milwaukee.”

Parker and Hood give Duke 20 first-round picks since 1998.

Warren is the first Wolfpack player to go in the draft lottery since Todd Fuller in 1996. Warren, a native of Durham, averaged an ACC-best 24.9 points per game last season and led the ACC in field-goal percentage (52.5).

At the draft, Warren’s mom, T, cried tears of joy and hugged N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried as Warren walked to the stage.

Warren said he was excited about joining the Suns, who were one of the surprise teams in the NBA last season at 48-34.

“It’s a great young team, and I’m looking forward to getting up with those guys and winning some games,” Warren said on ESPN.

Hood, who led the ACC in 3-point shooting (42 percent), dropped further down the draft than projected but he was ready to use that as motivation with the Jazz.

“I’ve got a big chip on my shoulder now,” Hood said during the draft telecast. “I’m just ready to get there.”

Hairston spent the past season in the NBA Developmental League after running into trouble with the NCAA at UNC. The shooting guard was drafted by the Heat, but the Greensboro native was traded back to his home state in a package that included the Hornets’ selection of Shabazz Napier at No. 24.

Duke’s Christian Laettner (third to Minnesota), N.C. State’s Tom Gugliotta (sixth to Washington) and UNC’s Hubert Davis (20th to the New York Knicks) were the three first-round picks from the Triangle in 1992.

Giglio: 919-829-8938; Twitter: @jwgiglio

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