Thursday, July 01, 1999

Nuggets select Posey with 18th pick

Musketeers star was recommended by UC's Van Exel

The Cincinnati Enquirer

James Posey, wearing a Nuggets cap, poses with NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was selected.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        WASHINGTON — A good 20 minutes after he was selected in the NBA draft Wednesday night, James Posey was still shaking.

        “Just nervous energy,” he said later. “I didn't know what to do really. I had to try to control myself.”

        The Denver Nuggets selected the former Xavier standout with the 18th pick in the two-round draft. Teammate Lenny Brown was not selected.

        Posey, a 6-foot-8 forward from Cleveland, waited almost two hours to hear his name called by NBA Commissioner David Stern. It was a moment Posey had long awaited but refused to believe would happen until it did.

        He dropped his head and said a quick prayer before hugging his parents and accepting congratulations from Xavier coach Skip Prosser and agent Mark Bartelstein, both of whom joined Posey at the MCI Center.

        “I was nervous, excited, just waiting,” Posey said. “It was just a matter of time. It's a dream come true. ... It's very satisfying. I've got my foot in the door.”

        Posey made his way to the podium to shake hands and pose for a picture with Stern in front of a crowd of 11,564. Like all the draftees in attendance, he was whisked to rapid-fire interviews with TNT, ESPN radio, a show in the arena, then to the rest of the media.

        “It was crazy,” he said. “Things were happening that fast. No time to think. Just do it, just react. But I'm enjoying it. I'm happy that I was able to experience this. I can't complain.”

        The day had been nerve-wracking. Posey thought he would get selected sooner. He was the sixth small forward taken, after Lamar Odom (fourth), Wally Szczerbiak (sixth), Shawn Marion (ninth), Corey Maggette (13th) and Ron Artest (16th).

        “I was waiting my turn,” Posey said. “I knew things were changing every second. I thought I would go higher. But, hey, I think I'm in a good situation right now.”

        “We think it's great,” Bartelstein said. “It's really an up-and-coming team. They've got a lot of young pieces ... and they wanted him.”

        Posey became the 31st Xavier player drafted — but only the third picked in the first round. Brian Grant was the No.8 selection in 1994 (Sacramento), and Tyrone Hill was the No.11 pick in 1990 (Golden State).

        He will unite with two former Cincinnati Bearcats in Denver: Danny Fortson and Nick Van Exel. In fact, Van Exel came to team officials and said Posey was one of the players he wanted Denver to take.

        “Nick will be happy,” assistant coach and director of scouting Kim Hughes said. “We're thrilled. We were very surprised he fell in our lap.”

        Brown has been invited to the Miami Heat free-agent camp July 5-9. Chicago, Orlando, Miami and Detroit have expressed the most interest in Brown.

        Posey, Szczerbiak (No.6, Minnesota) and Kentucky's Scott Padgett (No.28, Utah) were the area players selected in the first round. UC's Melvin Levett (No. 54, Detroit) was a late second-rounder.


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