June 27, 2007
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Florida State basketball All-American Al Thornton will wake up in New York – the city that never sleeps — on Thursday morning and wonder if he is dreaming. For the Seminole basketball star it will truly be the first day of the rest of his life as he will spend a nervous day waiting to see which team he will be selected by in the 2007 NBA Draft held at Madison Square Garden.
Television coverage of the draft will be on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m.
Thornton is listed among the top first-round candidates heading into the draft on June 28 at the World’s Most Famous Arena. The highest draft choice for a Seminole basketball player is a No. 4 overall selection by Dave Cowens in 1970. Cowens was selected with the fourth overall selection by the Boston Celtics and enjoyed a career that culminated in him being named one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players in 1997. Cowens is currently an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons
Thornton is looking to become the Seminoles’ first draft lottery selection since forward George McCloud was the Seminoles’ first ever draft lottery selection as he was taken with the seventh overall selection by the Indiana Pacers in 1989. The first Draft Lottery (1985) saw the New York Knicks select Patrick Ewing of Georgetown with the first overall selection. There were seven lottery selections in 1985. The number increased to 11 in 1990, to 13 in 1996 and to its present total of 14 in 2004.
Thornton is also looking to become one of three top-10 lottery picks in school history joining Cowens (fourth overall by Boston in 1970) and McCloud (seventh overall by Indiana in 1989).
Should Thornton be selected in the first round as expected, it will mark the fifth time in school history (and first time since 1995) that the Seminoles have had a first round pick in the NBA and NFL drafts in the same year. Linebacker Lawrence Timmons was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round April’s NFL Draft earlier this year.
Florida State in the NBA Draft
* A total of seven Seminole players have been first round NBA Draft choices. Cowens and McCloud are the only two top-10 picks. Douglas Edwards (15th overall by Atlanta in 1993), Bob Sura (17th overall by the Cleveland in 1995), Mitchell Wiggins (23rd overall by Indiana in 1983), Sam Cassell (24th overall by Houston in 1993) and Charlie Ward (26th overall by New York in 1994) have all been first round draft choices.
* Of Florida State’s seven first round draft choices – four of them played together on the Seminoles’ 1992 and 1993 NCAA Tournament teams. Sam Cassell, Douglas Edwards, Bob Sura and Charlie Ward helped Florida State to the 1992 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and to the 1993 NCAA Tournament Elite 8. All four became first round draft choices.
* Al Thornton will be in New York for the NBA Draft. He is just the second Seminole invited to the draft – George McCloud was the seventh overall selection and was fortunate enough to hear his named called and have his picture taken with NBA Commissioner David Stern.
* With Al Thornton’s selection in the 2007 NBA Draft, Florida State will become one of only two schools in the ACC with at least one selection in each of the last four NBA Drafts. Tim Pickett (44th overall, 2nd round by New Orleans), Von Wafer (39th overall, 2nd Round by Los Angeles), Alexander Johnson (43rd Overall, 2nd Round by Indiana) were all drafted in the last three seasons. Florida State and Duke are the only two ACC school to have had at least one player chosen in each of the last four NBA Drafts.
* Florida State has had four players drafted since Leonard Hamilton became the head coach of the Seminoles in 2002. Tim Pickett, Von Wafer, Alexander Johnson and Al Thornton were all recruited by Hamilton and his staff to attend Florida State and play basketball for the Seminoles.
* Leonard Hamilton has had at least one of the players he has recruited selected in six consecutive seasons. Including Al Thornton in the 2007 NBA Draft, he has had at least one of his player picked every season since 2002 — John Salmons (2002, 1st, San Antonio), James Jones (2002, 2nd, Indiana), Tim Pickett (2004, 2nd, New Orleans), Von Wafer (2005, 2nd, Los Angeles Lakers), Alexander Johnson (2006, 2nd, Indiana) and Al Thornton (2007).
* Florida State has had 38 players selected in the history of the NBA Draft. Dave Fedor was the Seminoles’ first draft choice (25th overall in the third round by Philadelphia in 1962) and Alexander Johnson (43rd overall in the second round by Indiana in 2006) was the most recent.
* Three Seminoles – Sam Cassell (Los Angeles Clippers), Alexander Johnson (Memphis Grizzlies) and Von Wafer (Denver Nuggets) are currently on NBA rosters and played in the league during the 2006-07 season. Cassell averaged 12.3 points in 58 games as a Clipper; Johnson averaged 4.4 points in 59 games with the Grizzlies and Wafer split time with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets during the 2006-07 season.
* When Al Thornton hears his named called in the 2007 NBA Draft it will mark the fourth consecutive season a Leonard Hamilton recruited Seminole has been drafted. It will mark the first time since the 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991 seasons that at least one Florida State player has been selected in four consecutive NBA Drafts. Starting in 1983, at least one Seminole player was drafted in nine consecutive years (1983-91)
* When Al Thornton hears his named called in the 2007 NBA Draft, it will mark the first time in school history the Seminoles have had a player picked in the second round or higher in four consecutive NBA Drafts.
* A Florida State player has never been drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs, Seattle Supersonics, Toronto Raptors or Utah Jazz.
* The most popular draft night destination for a Seminole player has been the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers. All five teams have selected a Florida State player with three picks.
* First round NBA and NFL picks in the same season: 1989 (George McCloud, 1st Round NBA Draft by Indiana; Deion Sanders, 1st Round NFL Draft by Atlanta and Sammie Smith, 1st Round NFL Draft by Miami); 1993 (Douglas Edwards, 1st Round NBA Draft by Atlanta; Marvin Jones, 1st Round NFL Draft by the New York Jets); 1994 (Charlie Ward, 1st Round NBA Draft by the New York Knicks; William Floyd, 1st Round NFL Draft by San Francisco); 1995 (Bob Sura, 1st Round NBA Draft by Cleveland; Derrick Alexander, 1st Round NFL Draft by Minnesota, Devin Bush, 1st Round NFL Draft by Atlanta, Derrick Brooks, 1st Round NFL Draft by Tampa Bay).