Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Bucks take PG Brandon Jennings with the 10th Pick in 2009 NBA Draft
Needing a solid PG to build around, your Milwaukee Bucks chose 19-year-old Brandon Jennings with the 10th overall pick. Jennings, who skipped a freshman year in college to play professionally in Italy, saw his gamble pay off when the Bucks made the move to select him.
Jonny Flynn went sixth overall to Minnesota, and point guards Ricky Rubio and Stephen Curry also were selected ahead of Jennings.
The Bucks liked the athletic ability of the 6-foot-1 Jennings and also were impressed with his decision to play for Lottomatica Roma, even though he didn't receive consistent playing time. Jennings averaged 5.5 points and 2.3 assists in 27 Italian League games, and he averaged 7.6 points over 16 Euroleague appearances.
"You look at guys who become great players in this league," Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney said earlier this week. "What Brandon did was very admirable, going overseas after high school and playing. It's a difficult adjustment from a playing standpoint but also from a social and cultural standpoint."
Jennings said he wasn't happy with his workout session with the Bucks on Monday, and he said he was a bit fatigued. He called the Bucks workout one of the toughest he endured, along with one he had in Washington.
But the Bucks were still impressed as he competed in a stellar point guard group with Flynn, Ty Lawson and Jeff Teague. Jennings injured his left thumb when he caught it in Teague's jersey, but Jennings refused to come out of the workout.
Agent Bill Duffy had Jennings stay away from Madison Square Garden because the guard did not get a guarantee to be picked in the lottery. But Duffy shouldn't have worried.
"My game is more mature now," Jennings said on Monday, talking about his experience in Europe. "I'm more calm. Off the court, I’ve matured a lot. I take care of my business. It's more like a job. It was good for me, playing with grown men every day."
Jennings, from Compton, Calif., played in the McDonald's All-American Game at the Bradley Center in the spring of 2008 and finished with 12 points and nine assists for the West team. That was after his senior year at Oak Hill Academy, where he averaged more than 35 points and 6.8 assists.
Jennings showed up in a Bucks' hat and was introduced by Commissioner David Stern moments after the Phoenix Suns selected forward Earl Clark with the 14th pick in the draft. Jennings smiled and waved to the Garden crowd.
"I don't regret it at all," Jennings said of his year in Italy in an ESPN interview. "I still went top 10. I think you'll see more kids doing it. I hope they do it; it's a great experience overall. You just learn a lot.
"I got to go to a lot of different places overseas - Germany, Turkey, Spain, at a young age. You can't ask for nothing better than that."
The Bucks selected a guard with their first-round pick for the first time since they chose T.J. Ford with the eighth overall pick in the 2003 draft.
Jennings said he was looking forward to playing for Bucks coach Scott Skiles.
"He was one of the best point guards to play in the league, and I think I can learn a whole lot from him," Jennings said.
Jennings said he enjoyed Milwaukee when he came to town to work out earlier this week.
"All I heard was Milwaukee was really boring, terrible," he said. "Milwaukee is not a bad town, kind of laid-back. There's a lot of fishing, a lot of boats and a lot of water."
Jennings said he wouldn't expect to be a starter right away. The Bucks also have veteran Luke Ridnour and restricted free agent Ramon Sessions at the position.
"I know you have to come in here and earn your spot," Jennings said.