Antawn Jamison's college credentials suggest he should have been the first or second player taken in Wednesday's draft.
The reality - all 6-foot-7, 230 pounds of it - is that he wasn't. Jamison is the classic 'tweener, a powerful, low-post player in college who may not be big enough to dominate on the next level. That's why the consensus National Player of the Year was taken with the fourth pick, then had his rights traded to Golden State. General managers aren't sure if they should project him as a power forward or a small forward.There's no doubt in Jamison's mind.
"I think I can be a great small forward," Jamison said. "It can be times that if I have a mismatch and you put me on the post, I can be successful doing that. I can put it on the ground and get around people. I can spot up for the jump shot and be real consistent with that."
Jamison said he worked on his small forward skills during North Carolina practices. But in games, the Tar Heels needed his overpowering presence inside.
"I know deep down inside that I can shoot the jump shot," Jamison said. "I know deep down inside that I can put it on the floor, things like that.
"The system for me was to play inside. If you are so successful playing inside, why change that? If your team is constantly winning games, why go away from that if you just want to show people that you can do this and you can do that? My whole mentality was to think team first."
INTERNATIONAL FLAIR: Mirsad Turkcan broke new ground Wednesday when he became the first player from Turkey selected in the NBA draft.
"There's going to be a party," Turkcan said after Houston took him at No. 18. "All my friends, all Turkey. This is a very big step for Turkey."
Players from around the world have been making big steps in recent years. Turkcan was one of six foreign players selected in the first round of the draft. In the past two years, 21 of the 115 players drafted - slightly more than 18 percent - were born outside the United States.
They are Turkcan, Andrew Betts, Michael Olowokandi, Dirk Nowitzki, Radoslav Nesterovic, Felipe Lopez, Vladimir Stepania, Bruno Sundov and Sean Marks.
STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES: Vancouver's Brian Hill is one of the more diplomatic coaches in the league. That's what made his comments to a Vancouver newspaper the day before the draft so interesting.
Hill recalled what Orlando had done in the 1993 draft when he was with the Magic and talked about how the Grizzlies couldn't expect to pull off a similar scenario.
"We didn't want to take (Anfernee) Hardaway at No. 1, and we knew Golden State wanted (Chris) Webber," Hill said. "So we engineered a deal ahead of time, and we got three first-round picks in addition to Hardaway, which we thought was an absolute steal.
"I don't think anybody would be stupid enough to make a deal like that right now, to give up three first-round draft choices along with a player."
The man who pulled the trigger on that stupid deal for Golden State was Don Nelson, who now presides over the Mavericks.
DRIBBLING AROUND: The three high school players who entered the draft dreaming they would be the next Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant received a rude awakening. Al Harrington was the first to go at No. 25 to Indiana. The other two - Alief Elsik's Rashard Lewis and Korleone Young - didn't go until the second round, meaning they don't have guaranteed contracts and could wind up in the Continental Basketball Association if they don't perform immediately. . . . Barring the unforeseen, the owners will lock out the players starting Wednesday. Look for a long, ugly fight. . . . Forward Pat Garrity hasn't even stepped foot on an NBA court, and his rights have already belonged to three teams - Milwaukee to Dallas to Phoenix in the trade that netted the Mavericks' Steve Nash. "This is bizarre," Garrity said moments after he would up with the Suns. "I'm dumbfounded. I'll never forget this night."
THE FINAL WORD: No. 1 pick Olowokandi, when asked if his parents were more excited about him being drafted or Nigeria's play in the World Cup: "I'm going to pass by that question."