Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Duncan Finally Ready to Star in NBA Draft

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Duncan Finally Ready to Star in NBA Draft

Article excerpt

By staying for his senior season, Wake Forest center Tim Duncan put himself in the Atlantic Coast Conference record books and built himself into a player NBA scouts drool over.

Although Duncan failed to lead Wake Forest to its first Final Four since 1962, he finished as the ACC's career leader in blocks (481) and was only the second player in conference history - Duke's Danny Ferry was the other - to rank among his school's top 10 in career scoring, rebounding, blocks and assists.

NBA riches surely await him in Wednesday's draft because the 6-10, 245-pound Duncan has proved he was worth the wait. The San Antonio Spurs will take Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick and then pair him in a "twin tower" frontcourt with center David Robinson. "I'm different," Duncan said. "I am not the norm. I did something only a few other people will do. I am original. I have a lot of fun being a college student.c" Duncan, a psychology major who turned 21 in April, pleased his mother back in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and Wake Forest coach Dave Odom by staying for his senior season. "I never thought he was leaving," said Odom, who watched Duncan grow into an even better player as a senior. "He was looking for reasons to sustain what he wanted to do anyway. He looked at all the reasons to stay. And you can find what you are looking for. "He doesn't have major financial concerns. That's not to say he is well off - he's OK. . . . He was middle of the road. . . . He didn't come out of there (Virgin Islands) with the idea (that) in order to be happy, you have to have a lot of money." Duncan thought he still had something to prove in college basketball in his senior season, and he did it. Duncan finished as NCAA Division I's top rebounder (14.7 rpg), 10th in blocks (3.3 a game) and 10th in field-goal percentage (60.8 percent). Duncan became only the 10th player in Division I history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,500 rebounds in a career. In his final two games in the 1997 NCAA Tournament, Duncan averaged 20 points and 21 rebounds. …

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