Saturday, June 27, 2009

ELLINGTON JOINS THE HANSBROUGH “CHIP ON SHOULDER” CLUB

Wayne Ellington wasn’t all that pleased with being chosen 28th in the NBA Draft.

Ellington, the former star wing guard at Episcopal Academy (Class of 2006) and the University of North Carolina, was projected to go as high as the middle of the first round in last night's NBA draft. Instead, he slipped down to the No. 28 spot, two before the end of the round.

One of his first thoughts about those teams that neglected to take him?
"They'll be sorry," Ellington said, smiling.

Ellington's family and girlfriend, based for the past 3 years in Cary, N.C., hosted a private party for about 50 family members and friends at Vino in Philadelphia.

Yes, they may have all been urealistic about where the shooting guard would go in the draft, but why not?

The mood was festive early on as Ellington watched with a grin as former Episcopal classmate Gerald Henderson (Duke) was plucked at No. 12 by Charlotte. And again immediately thereafter at No. 13, when fellow UNC star Tyler Hansbrough went to Indiana.

After pick No. 14, the tension and sauna-like conditions inside the room became too much. Ellington walked to the back and stood at the top of a small set of stairs, looking back over his shoulder.

After about 18 picks Ellington started to stress turning his back to the television…

Every so often, a well-wisher would walk over and try to console the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player.

"It was hard. Very, very hard," Ellington said, referring to the lengthy wait and the vast disappointment it caused.

Out in the main room, the selection of others was not greeted warmly - "That guy?! You gotta be kiddin' me! He's terrible!"

Then the T-Wolves grabbed Ellington with the second-to-last pick in the first round.

"I'm excited," he said. "I have my opportunity. Make the best of it. I'm looking forward to getting out there to play. I can't wait. Show what I can do. [Going late] is motivation. Nothing new. Just have to work my way to where I want to be. It's all part of it."

Ellington said he'd worked out two different times for Minnesota, with the most recent occasion being 3 days ago. And that, like dad, he'd received a call from his agent to let him know right beforehand that the Timberwolves would indeed be the one.

"It was a long wait, but I'm happy," he said. "I'm in The League. I'm relieved. I'm ready to work and make the best of it. I definitely feel I can contribute. It's a great opportunity. They have a lot of talented young guys and I think I'll be able to fit in well."

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