July 2, 2008
The iconic Harlem Globetrotters have selected former Tiger Donald Thomas in the team's second annual player draft.
Also selected by the Globetrotters Wednesday were Georgetown's Patrick Ewing, Jr., 2008 State Farm College Slam Dunk Champion Sonny Weems of Arkansas, William Bullard of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Siena long-distance marksman Tay Fisher and Sudanese big man Longar Longar of Oklahoma.
Following is a complete recap of the Globetrotters' draft:
· Donald Thomas had already displayed his extraordinary leaping ability as a basketball player at Lindenwood University in 2005 when, on a friend's challenge, he high-jumped seven feet. That led to spot on the track team, where the 6-2 Bahamian shattered school and meet records before enrolling in graduate school at Auburn, where he became an All-American and won the 2007 NCAA indoor high jump title. He then took the 2007 World Outdoor title in Osaka, Japan, with a leap of 7 feet, 8.5 inches. Thomas is expected to be among the men to beat in the high jump at this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.
· Patrick Ewing, Jr., a second round pick of Sacramento in the 2008 NBA Draft, is the son of former Georgetown and New York Knicks great Patrick Ewing. The 6-8 forward received one of only two perfect scores at the 2008 College Slam Dunk Championship, was the recipient of the inaugural Big East Sixth Man of the Year Award, and helped lead the Hoyas to the 2007 NCAA Final Four.
· Sonny Weems, selected in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft by Chicago (his rights since traded to Denver), defeated Ewing and six others for the Slam Dunk Championship, and he has now won dunk titles at the high school, junior college and NCAA levels. The 6-6 Weems was an All-SEC First Team selection as an Arkansas senior.
· William Bullard finished second to Weems in the Slam Dunk Championship. The shortest player in the event, at 6-5, he received the second of the two perfect scores (in addition to Ewing) awarded on a single dunk.
· Tay Fisher finished his collegiate career with a flurry, as the 5-9 sharp-shooter drained six 3-pointers in Siena's 21-point MAAC Championship rout of Rider and went a perfect 6-for-6 from long range in the Saints' NCAA First Round upset of 4th-seeded Vanderbilt. Fisher shot a blistering 44.4 percent from downtown his senior season.
· Longar Longar led the Sooners in blocked shots as a senior, and the 6-11 Sudanese center ranked second on the team in scoring, rebounding and field goal shooting.
Each of the six players will be invited to camp in the fall to compete for the honor of joining the Globetrotters for their 83rd consecutive season of touring the world.
"When evaluating draft prospects, we look for players that bring special skills and the personality to potentially be Harlem Globetrotters," said Globetrotters Coach Clyde Sinclair. "We hope we can be as fortunate as last year, when our top pick, Ant Atkinson, not only made the team, but has flourished."
In 2007, Atkinson was the top selection in the team's inaugural player draft after an All-American career at Barton College that culminated in an NCAA Division II National Championship.
Sponsored by Campbell Soup Company, the Harlem Globetrotters have played in 119 countries before over 128 million fans since their inception in 1926, and are one of only six teams to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. For more information, visit the team's official Web site: www.harlemglobetrotters.com.