Jason Olson, Deseret News
Former BYU star Trent Plaisted, shown here in a game last season against Weber State, is headed to the Detroit Pistons after Thursday's NBA draft.

Trent Plaisted's decision to leave BYU early for the NBA paid off Thursday when Seattle traded its No. 46 pick to take the former Cougar junior, a selection traded to Detroit.

Obviously I am really excited," said Plaisted. "Detroit has made the conference finals for so many years. They are a team that has showed a lot of interest in me from the beginning.

"My agent called and told me about the trade coming up during the first round and it was a matter of seeing how it would go down after the 29th pick. There were a lot of options, but it worked out for the best. I am excited to be a Piston."

Plaisted ended up the second Mountain West player drafted after J.R. Giddens, who went to Boston in the last pick of the first round. ESPN's Web site described Giddens as a "knucklehead," but a player talented enough to go in the first round. He shared MWC most valuable player honors with BYU's Lee Cummard this past season.

Plaisted sees himself as a center or power forward in the NBA. He was the 10th center picked. The Utah Jazz took Ohio State's Kosta Koufos No. 23 (fifth center) and Ante Tomic of Croatia No. 44 (ninth center) before Plaisted.

The pick confirmed a prediction by Plaisted's agent, Mark Bartelstein, who predicted in April the All-MWC center would be drafted, with a chance at the first round. Reality was the second round, a selection Plaisted said he would certainly take any day.

Plaisted played in the Pistons' home arena, the Palace at Auburn Hills, his sophomore season when the Cougars played Michigan State. "I hope it's a sign. I had a big game that night." Plaisted scored 23 points and had seven rebounds against the Spartans.

On draft day, Plaisted said he slept in past 10 a.m., something he hadn't done in "quite a while," and then took a hike up Provo Canyon to Sundance with his wife, mother and brother. "By the time I got back it was time to watch the draft. We ate a lot of food and sat down for the show."

Plaisted knew he wasn't a lottery guy, but when the range in which he thought he might get drafted got close, he admitted "I was on pins and needles" and his nerves got a workout.

When Plaisted heard his name, he was excited. "But it was also a huge relief."

Plaisted said he doesn't know his schedule yet but hopes to find out his travel plans this weekend.

"Obviously there's the summer league right around the corner and I expect to be involved."

Plaisted praised the Piston organization and its success. "It's a tremendous boost for me. They are one of the classiest, if not the classiest, organizations in the NBA. I'm going in with the hope to contribute, find a role, whatever that may be.

Going 16th in the second round, Plaisted is the third BYU player drafted in the past six years. He is BYU's 44th NBA draftee, the second most in the MWC after UNLV's 49. Toronto picked Rafael Arajuo No. 8 in 2004 and Travis Hansen went No. 37 to Atlanta back in 2003. He is the first BYU underclassman selected in the draft since Shawn Bradley in 1993.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com