It was a good draft night for the players who shared their stories in TrueHoop's Just Pick Me Already series. Jared Dudley, who once spoke of going 37th, was taken 22nd by Michael Jordan's Bobcats. Morris Almond's dream came true when he was selected three picks later by the Utah Jazz. Petteri Koponen was the last pick in the first round, and after a trade joins Portland's cavalcade of point guards.
One member of the group, however, did not hear his name called. Zabian Dowdell was home at his mom's house in Florida, waiting for the phone to ring. The good news: his agent, Kareem Memarian, explains that even before the draft was over Dowdell had invitations to play for several summer league teams, and has decided to join Seattle's squad in Las Vegas, where he gets to audition in the role of "passing the ball to Kevin Durant."
How are you doing?
I'm all right. Stuff happens, you know? It's not the end of the road.
So what's next? You still working out for a few days and then heading out for Summer League?
I worked out today, and then I leave for Vegas Monday, and we'll just take it from there.
What was your night like last night?
I watched with some family and friends. We had food and all that. I actually think it was tougher on them than it was on me. I always knew that it's really out of your control. You have to hope things will go easy, but they never have gone easy for me. I prepared myself for the idea that I might not get drafted. A lot of my friends, though, who were also in the draft and didn't get picked are taking it really hard. I definitely think I have the upper hand in that regard.
What were you hearing as the night unfolded?
My agent Kareem heard that I was likely going to be Seattle's 35th pick, until they had to include that in the deal with Boston. [The pick became Glen Davis.] It's hard, though, when you're dealing with the draft. You never know how it is until it happens. But after that didn't happen, and it got into the forties, I was really hoping I wouldn't hear my name, so I could choose where I could go. Several teams were calling, and if I was a free agent I could pick a team with a good situation. I have a good feeling about Seattle.
You must seen some of the guys who were taken in the second round and thought "I am better than that guy."
Yeah, there were a lot of guys like that, in my opinion. But my opinion doesn't count!
Some guys, like Gilbert Arenas, get really bitter at ever team that passed them up. You feeling like that?
Oh, there's some added motivation. But I'll just do what I always do. I have never had an easy road. That has been the story throughout my basketball career.
What did your mom tell you?
She told me to keep my head up, and that this was not the end of the road. I still have plenty of years of basketball in me, no matter what happens.
Would you play in Europe?
As long as I can play basketball, I'll play anywhere.