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Local products weigh options after NBA draft

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By John Grupp and Dave Mackall,
Saturday, June 25, 2011

As the NBA Draft progressed Thursday night, Pitt shooting guard Gilbert Brown could feel his chances of getting picked dropping.

His name, after all, wasn't Gilbertas Brownikas.

"I thought I had a really legitimate shot," Brown said by phone Friday afternoon. "As you see, the way the draft went with a lot of overseas picks, a lot of things fell out of the loop."

A record four international players were lottery picks and a total of 13 players with overseas ties were taken in the two-round draft. That left little room for players such as Brown, Pitt guard Brad Wanamaker — a projected late second-round pick by — Pitt center Gary McGhee and Duquesne's Damian Saunders and Bill Clark, none of whom were called.

The 23-year-old Brown, considered by many scouts as an NBA-ready perimeter defender, said he spoke with Celtics general manager Danny Ainge after the draft. Brown said Phoenix and Indiana also have expressed interest.

"Right now, it sounds like Boston is the best fit for me," he said.

Wanamaker will attend minicamps next week with the Hawks and the Spurs, according to his agent, Happy Walters.

With the possible NBA lockout set to begin July 1 — and no summer leagues to catch the eye of NBA execs — Brown already has a deal to play overseas in Germany. He then has the option to return without penalty when the league's labor issues are settled.

"Right now, I haven't committed to anything," he said. "But (going overseas) is the logical thing to do. I would be able to play, make money and stay in shape."

Although he wanted to realize his life-long dream of being drafted, he now has the ability to hunt for the best situation. Brown mentioned former Marquette shooting guard Wesley Matthews, who went undrafted in 2009 but made the Utah Jazz roster after a strong summer league and signed a five-year, $34-million free-agent deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in 2010.

"Everybody wants to get their name called, without a doubt," Brown said. "But it does make sense not to get drafted, and you get to choose your own situation and have a chance to make the team."

If he does go overseas, Brown said he will leave for Germany in August. In the meantime, he plans to work out and might even pop into Pittsburgh to see his old teammates at the Greentree Summer League.

"It's possible I will swing by," he said. "I might even play."

Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said he's confident Saunders and Clark will play professionally at some level.

"I called both of them and told them that a lot of other guys didn't get drafted, either. A lot of great players," Everhart said. "I told them they'd better be ready to play when a team comes after them, whether it's here or in Europe somewhere. And it's going to happen for both of them. They'll both be playing somewhere, and I told them to keep their heads up. That's the most important thing. Stay at it. Be ready."



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