Illinois' Leonard goes 11th to Portland

June, 28, 2012
Meyers Leonard Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesMeyers Leonard will team with LaMarcus Aldridge in the frontcourt for Portland.
Illinois sophomore center Meyers Leonard was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 11th overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday.

Leonard, a 7-foot-1, 250-pound center, averaged 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season. He was the first the Big Ten player selected in this year’s draft.

“Just to be selected this high and be considered one of these guys in this room and in this class is unbelievable,” Leonard said on ESPN after being drafted.

Leonard is the first Illini player to be drafted in the top 11 since Deron Williams was selected No. 3 overall by the Utah Jazz in 2005.

Leonard attended the NBA draft at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. and was joined by his family and his former Illinois coach Bruce Weber, who now coaches at Kansas State.

Leonard starred at Robinson High School in Robinson, Ill., and played for the Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire club team.
Scott Powers is a general reporter for He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.



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