The Chronicle

McLeod goes to Hawks with 20th overall pick

By: Joel Israel

Issue date: 6/25/98 Section: Undefined Section
Last update: 2/1/06 at 12:15 PM EST
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Roshown McLeod will take his game from Durham to Atlanta for the 1998-99 season.
Roshown McLeod will take his game from Durham to Atlanta for the 1998-99 season.
[Click to enlarge]

Chronicle staff writer

Not bad, Roshown.

In the weeks and months to come, there will be a contract to sign, playing rotation to crack and potential lockout to wait through. For now, though, only one thing matters.

Roshown McLeod is in the NBA.

McLeod became Duke's first men's basketball player to be drafted since Cherokee Parks in 1995 when the Atlanta Hawks selected the 6-8, 221-pound forward with the 20th pick of the first round in last night's NBA Draft.

Rather than attend the draft in person in Vancouver, McLeod returned to his home in New Jersey to watch the proceedings on television. He declined an interview with The Chronicle earlier in the week.

The Jersey City, N.J., native was a third-team All-American last season, averaging 15.2 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the field. McLeod stepped up his play during the ACC season, when he scored just under 18 points in leading Duke to the regular-season conference title.

McLeod was expected to go anywhere from mid-first round to early second, as a lot of players in this draft were considered to be of comparable talent. One of the factors in question for McLeod is what position he will play in the NBA.

He was primarily a power forward with Duke but is projected at the small forward position at the next level. His shooting, McLeod hit 41 percent of his three-point attempts last year, is not in question. The issue is whether or not McLeod will be able to guard NBA small forwards and run the court well enough for his position.

"I will probably be a wing," McLeod told the Houston Chronicle last week. "I played a lot of 4 and a lot of 3 in college, but a lot of people tell me I'm probably one of the most 3's in the draft because of the way I shoot the ball, the way I posted and my size."

With Atlanta, McLeod could see instant playing time. Journeyman Tyrone Corbin was last year's starter at the small forward spot, while free agents-to-be Alan Henderson and Duke-ex Christian Laettner split time at power forward. The Hawks' three other starting spots are secure, with a backcourt of Mookie Blaylock and Steve Smith and Dikembe Mutombo at center.

McLeod is being represented by David Falk, a powerful agent who can list Michael Jordan among his many clients.

Duke's other two seniors, Steve Wojciechowski and Ricky Price, went undrafted and can either sign in Europe, the CBA or as a free agent with an NBA team.

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