U’s Jacobson going to City of Angels

Murali Balaji

When the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first round pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft was ready to be announced, many Gophers supporters held their breath, hoping for Sam Jacobson’s name to be called.
Radoslav Nesterovic, not Jacobson, was the Timberwolves’ top choice, however, allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to take the former Gopher with the 26th overall pick.
“I’m excited,” said Gophers head coach Clem Haskins. “There are so many pluses to being drafted, especially in the first round.”
The Lakers, who made it to the NBA Western Conference Finals this spring before being knocked out by the Utah Jazz, are considered by Haskins to be a legitimate title contender.
“Sam is on a team that has a chance to win so many championships,” said Haskins. “Especially when you’ve got a guy like a Shaquille O’Neal already there.”
After trading away point guard Nick Van Exel to the Denver Nuggets for forward Tony Battie and guard Tyrone Lue of Nebraska, the Lakers currently have Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, and Eddie Jones vying for time at the off-guard position.
Haskins, however, believes the Lakers’ overload of players at shooting guard could be worked out once Jacobson reports to camp.
“When you get drafted, you’re in the pros,” said Haskins. “Then it’s up to the team to find out where the player fits.”
As expected, former Gophers point guard Eric Harris went undrafted. Most published reports project Harris to play in the CBA or on an NBA tryout squad.
“Eric can be selective in who he wants to play for,” said Haskins. “If he were a second-round pick, the money would not be guaranteed.”
In other draft news:
ù Michael Olowokandi, the 7-foot center from Pacific University, was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers with the first overall pick in the draft.
While Olowokandi, a native of Nigeria who first touched a basketball at age 17, is an undisputed talent who most scouts agree has a long way to go before adjusting to the NBA.
“Olowokandi can’t do everything himself,” said Sonics vice-president of basketball operations Billy McKinney. “The Clippers must acquire talent to help him out.”
ù Mike Bibby, the flashy point guard from Arizona, fell to No. 2, prompting the Vancouver Grizzlies to draft him and trade guard Antonio Daniels to the San Antonio Spurs.
ùThe Timberwolves selected 6-9 forward Andrae Patterson of Indiana in the second round. Patterson, a familiar face to Gophers fans, averaged 12.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season.