Just before Thursday’s NBA draft began its third hour and the late first-round picks were being announced, C.J. Wilcox perked up.
This was his time. He had a feeling he would be selected between the 23rd and 38th picks. The folks around him grumbled and griped whenever commissioner Adam Silver appeared on the TV screen and his name wasn’t called.
Minutes later, the room fell silent. His phone buzzed and he read a tweet that read: Clippers. Wilcox’s father leaned close and said: “You’re going to the Los Angeles Clippers.”
And suddenly, there’s was bedlam, or as Wilcox put it: “Just a lot of excitement in the room.”
- Seahawks agree to contract extension with quarterback Russell Wilson
- Dustin Ackley trade symbolizes continuing dark days of Mariners
- Surviving Seattle’s sidewalks: Pedestrian rage rises as the population grows
- Shell icebreaker begins journey after protesters removed from Portland bridge
- Haggen cuts worker hours in Seattle area
Most Read Stories
Minutes later, it became official. The Clippers used their first-round pick — No. 28 overall — on the unassuming sharpshooter who set three-point records at Washington.
“I’m relieved to be in the first round,” Wilcox said from San Diego. “ I was nervous from about 20 on. It was a really nervous time for me and my family. But luckily, we got the call a couple of minutes early and we knew what was about to happen.”
Wilcox, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound shooting guard, averaged 18.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.5 rebounds last season. He shot 87.3 percent at the free-throw line, 45.3 percent from the field and 39.1 on three-pointers.
Wilcox finished his four-year career second on UW’s all-time scoring list with 1,880 points. He accumulated 301 three-pointers, which is first on UW’s all-time list and sixth in Pac-12 history.
Wilcox became the 11th Husky taken in the first round of the NBA draft. The others include: Terrence Ross (8th, 2012), Tony Wroten Jr. (25th, 2012), Quincy Pondexter (26th, 2010), Spencer Hawes (10th, 2007), Brandon Roy (6th, 2006), Nate Robinson (21st, 2005), Chris Welp (16th, 1987), Detlef Schrempf (8th, 1985), Bob Houbregs (3rd, 1953) and Jack Nichols (12th, 1948).
Wilcox was the fourth Pac-12 player taken Thursday following Arizona’s Aaron Gordon (fourth) and UCLA’s Zach LaVine (13th) and Jordan Adams (22nd). The conference had six first-rounders including Stanford’s Josh Huestis (29th) and UCLA’s Kyle Anderson (30th). It’s the most first-round picks for the Pac-12 since 2008 when it had seven.
“It just proves how many good players there are in the Pac-12 and how we go overlooked a little bit,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox will receive a four-year contract that includes team options after the second year. According to the NBA rookie salary scale, he’s slotted to earn about $924,800 in 2014-15.
Wilcox joins a Clippers team that includes All-Star point guard Chris Paul and power forward Blake Griffin.
Former Rainier Beach High standout Jamal Crawford won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award last season with Los Angeles.
The Clippers won the Pacific Division with a 57-25 record last season. They were eliminated 4-2 by Oklahoma City in the Western Conference semifinals.
Wilcox was surprised the Clippers were interested in him considering the other guards on the team and his subpar performance at their workout.
“They had all of these people at my position and I was thinking I don’t know why I’m even working out here,” Wilcox said. “But it’s just a bigger challenge coming in here. Doc said he didn’t draft me to trade me or sit me, he wanted to use me. So I need to take that as a challenge and fight my way into a position in the rotation.”
Huskies taken in first round
|C.J. Wilcox is the 11th Husky taken in the first round of the NBA draft.|
|Tony Wroten Jr.||2012||25|
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278
On Twitter @percyallen