Suns Expect Strawberry To Contribute
Practice will start for former Maryland guard D.J. Strawberry, who will be taking the court in the NBA summer league for the Phoenix Suns.
When the Suns picked Strawberry in the second round with the 59th overall selection last Thursday, he became the first Terp drafted since the Washington Wizards took Steve Blake in the second round in 2003.
“I was excited and pretty nervous,” said Strawberry of draft night in a news conference in Phoenix Friday. “When I got the phone call I think everybody was more excited than I was. It was a good feeling to experience that with your family.”
He was the Terps Most Valuable Player after his senior year and was the 11th leading scorer in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He finished his career at Maryland ranked 35th in all-time scoring with 1,126 points and is fifth in school history with 202 steals. He becomes the 28th player, including the 15th Terrapin, to be drafted after being coached by Gary Williams.
“We wanted to add some toughness, particularly on the wing position,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Steve Kerr of Strawberry and the Suns first round pick, Alando Tucker. Tucker, picked 29th overall, finished as Wisconsin’s all-time leading scorer with 2,217 points.
“We wanted to add some quality work ethic type guys,” Kerr added. “Guys who want to work and want to be part of a team.”
Kerr leans toward drafting players who have more experience and have completed four NCAA seasons because he believes in maturation through life experience. He also sees Strawberry and Tucker being contributors.
“We do get rookies, but we get matured rookies,” Suns head coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We expect something from them and they have a good shot at contributing immediately.”