Anderson, Hardin to Join Rookie Class of '08

For the First Time Since Kidd and Murray Back in 1994, Two Bears Hear Their Names at the Draft

Photo: DeVon Hardin addresses the media following his selection as the 50th overall draft pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. He leaves Cal with 132 career blocks, second-best in school history.
Aditya Rohilla/Photo
DeVon Hardin addresses the media following his selection as the 50th overall draft pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. He leaves Cal with 132 career blocks, second-best in school history.

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OAKLAND -- One of the more capable frontcourt tandems during their time together with the Cal men's basketball team, forward Ryan Anderson and center DeVon Hardin have officially left the Berkeley campus as of Thursday night.

The New Jersey Nets snatched Anderson with the 21st pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, pairing the Pac-10 scoring champ with a familiar face, Stanford center Brook Lopez; Lopez went earlier at 10th overall.

Memphis guard Chris Douglas-Roberts, taken at the No. 40 slot, also joins the Pac-10 draftees in New Jersey.

"Aw man, I mean, I almost cried for myself," Bears guard Patrick Christopher said of Anderson's selection. "I don't even want to say I'm surprised because I know what he can do, and this draft was somewhat deep or whatever, but 21, that's a good number right there for Ryan."

Hardin, meanwhile, had to sit through nearly the entire evening prior to hearing his name announced by the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round.

When NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver revealed the Sonics' 50th overall selection, Hardin and his guests at Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge in Oakland erupted in celebration and were able to -- perhaps belatedly -- let out a sigh of relief.

"I've been telling myself through this whole process to keep my head because it's very stressful," Hardin said. "I've been telling myself that everything that happens, happens for a reason. This is the way God intended it, and that's just what happened. I'm supposed to be in Seattle for a reason."

The Sonics also hold the rights to UCLA guard Russell Westbrook, who went fourth overall, as well as two other frontline players in Indiana's D.J. White and Serge Ibaka, an athletic, 6-foot-10 power forward from Congo.

Hardin, though, seemed confident that Seattle saw enough of what they liked in him to expend a pick on yet another big man.

"(The Sonics) just told me that I had a really good workout, that I showed them some things they didn't know I could do," Hardin said. "I was further along offensively than they expected. They really liked me."

Celtics forward and recent alumnus Leon Powe -- as well as a throng of Cal teammates, family and friends -- stood by Hardin's side throughout the night, having experienced a similar situation when he was taken 49th in 2006.

Hardin, who said he was "about to break down around the 35 mark," said Powe lent him words of encouragement as the second round dwindled down.

"I think he's gonna be just fine," Powe said. "It doesn't matter where you get drafted. When you go in there, it's (about) how hard you work. You gotta work hard, you gotta continue to better yourself -- your basketball skills, your off-the-court skills, too. You gotta do everything in your power to have a chance to stay in the league."

Anderson and Hardin are the first pair of Cal players taken in the draft since Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray went within the first seven picks in 1994. Anderson, an all-conference selection in 2008, was the Bears' first first-rounder since Atlanta plucked Ed Gray with the 22nd pick in 1997.

The Pac-10 produced seven picks from the first round and twelve overall.

"It feels great, it's a sense of hope," Cal forward Jamal Boykin said. "It's great to just be around that. It's a great energy to have guys who are potential draft picks and guys who actually get drafted. It's great for recruiting, it's great for everything."


Contact Andrew Kim at [email protected]

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