Former Jayhawk Julian Wright Selected in NBA Draft First Round to New Orleans
Former University of Kansas men's basketball player Julian Wright was selected in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft, going to the New Orleans Hornets as the 13th overall pick Thursday night at New York's Madison Square Garden.
A native of Chicago Heights, Ill., Wright was an All-Big 12 First Team and honorable mention All-American selection in 2006-07 as Kansas finished with a 33-5 record including its third straight conference title, second consecutive Big 12 Tournament championship and a trip to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The 6-8 forward led KU and was fourth in the conference in rebounding with 7.8 rebounds per game to go along with his 12 points per game. Wright was named to the Big 12 All-Tournament team, a two-time conference player of the week and was the most valuable player of the Las Vegas Invitational in which KU defeated Florida for the title.
Wright is the second Jayhawk and fourth player under head coach Bill Self to be drafted in the first round. Kansas’ Wayne Simien was the 29th overall pick by the Miami Heat in 2005. Former Illinois player Brian Cook was picked 24th overall in 2003 (Los Angeles) and Illini Frank Williams was 25th in the 2002 draft (New York). Simien was a member of the 2006 NBA championship team.
Wright joins eight former Jayhawks in the NBA next season -- Nick Collison (Seattle), Drew Gooden (Cleveland), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago), Raef LaFrentz (Portland), Paul Pierce (Boston), Scot Pollard (Cleveland), Wayne Simien (Miami) and Jacque Vaughn (San Antonio). Vaughn became the fourth Jayhawk to win an NBA title with the Spurs this past season, joining Jo Jo White, Wilt Chamberlain and Simien.
Julian Wright’s Kansas Career Honors:
Career honors: 2006-07: Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention... NABC All-American Third Team... Big 12 All-Tournament Team... All-Big 12 First Team... Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week (Nov. 26, March 5)... USBWA District VI... NABC District 12 First Team... Las Vegas Invitational MVP... Co-Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year with sophomore teammate Brandon Rush... Preseason All-Big 12 First Team... Preseason John R. Wooden Award candidate... Preseason Top 50 for Naismith Award. 2005-06: Big 12 Championship All-Tournament Team... All-Big 12 Honorable Mention... Big 12 All-Rookie Team... AP All-Big 12 Honorable Mention... Preseason Big 12 Freshman of the Year (selected by coaches)... Big 12 Rookie of the Week (Feb. 27)... Dick Harp Field Goal Percentage Award (co- with Sasha Kaun)... Clyde Lovellette Most Improved Player Award (co- with Mario Chalmers).