Bucks select VCU’s Sanders at No. 15

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Associated Press
Friday, June 25, 2010
— The Milwaukee Bucks figured out how to get to the postseason. After a first-round exit, coach Scott Skiles and general manager John Hammond saw what they’ll need to advance.

“We went with size tonight,” Skiles said Thursday.

A whole lot of it with all four picks. The Bucks selected 6-foot-11 power forward Larry Sanders at No. 15,

6-foot-7 shooting guard Darington Hobson at No. 37, 7-foot center Jerome Jordan at No. 44 and 6-foot-9 power forward Keith “Tiny” Gallon at No. 47.

“The more you can control the painted area with people that are intimidating and can knock things out of there, it’s very, very important,” Skiles said.

Hammond said they love Sanders’ athleticism and length despite the fact he only started playing basketball in high school. Jordan had a similar path from Kingston, Jamaica. Hobson bounced around before finishing his collegiate career at New Mexico. The 290-pound Gallon played just a year at Oklahoma and now is involved in an NCAA investigation.

Sanders, Jordan and Gallon will be expected to bolster a front court that’s lacking strong bodies behind Andrew Bogut, though not all three second-round picks are expected to make the team.

Sanders’ rapid ascent and defensive skills made him too tantalizing to pass up.

“I had a feeling, and it came true,” Sanders said by phone from Richmond, Va. “I personally felt a good connection as soon as I stepped off the plane in Milwaukee.”

The 21-year-old Sanders averaged 14.4 points per game, but he’s known for his defense. He averaged 9.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game in his final year as a junior and won his conference’s defensive player of the year award twice.

“He’s a very intriguing player,” Skiles said. “He’s going to be able to block shots, rebound, run the floor, do those things initially and then the other things will come around as time goes on.”

Sanders’ effort on defense will earn him playing time on a rebuilt team that won 46 games last year and reached the postseason for the first time in four years. Sanders began playing basketball as a sophomore in high school in 2005, but grew 5 inches and has a wingspan of nearly 7½ feet.

Hobson is a shooting guard, but can play a variety of positions. He was the Mountain West Conference’s player of the year in his only season at New Mexico.

Gallon and Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings were teammates at Oak Hill Academy, a prep school in Virginia.

The NCAA investigation includes reports Gallon’s mother was wired $3,000. Gallon said he knew nothing about the exchange of money and learned it was a loan that was used to pay for his high-school transcripts to be released from the prep school so he could attend Oklahoma.

The investigation will have little impact on Gallon in the NBA, and the Bucks said they were comfortable with him.

“Tiny can learn a lot from Brandon, for sure. Brandon’s in the gym every day, he’s serious about the game, he loves the game, he’s got a great approach, so all that is great,” Skiles said.

Jennings blossomed into one of the best rookies in the NBA last year and he and Bogut make up a core that the Bucks hope will take them back to the postseason. Besides Sanders and the rest of Thursday night’s picks, Hammond also traded for Corey Maggette on Tuesday.

It’s the third time the NBA’s executive of the year made a major deal just before the draft. Hammond netted the 11-year veteran Maggette from Golden State for role players Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzuric.

Last updated: 2:00 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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