X avier Thames didn’t care where he was picked in Thursday’s NBA draft – he just wanted to be picked.
Thames, who played at Pleasant Grove High School and San Diego State, was selected by Toronto with the second-to-last pick, No. 59 overall, which surprised him because the Raptors were not one of the 16 teams for which the 6-foot-4 guard worked out. His draft rights were traded to the Brooklyn Nets, who are coached by Jason Kidd, a player Thames grew up watching.
“I’m ready,” said Thames, who will play for the Nets in the NBA summer league in Orlando, Fla., starting July 5.
Thames hopes to join two other players from the region in the NBA – Matt Barnes (Del Campo) of the Clippers and Ryan Anderson (Oak Ridge) of the Pelicans.
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Changes at Cal
The best hire by outgoing Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour was men’s basketball coach Mike Montgomery, who retired after last season. Barbour’s most curious hire might be football coach Sonny Dykes, her hand-picked successor to Jeff Tedford. Dykes went 1-11 last season, his first year in Berkeley. Cal nearly landed area stars Shaq Thompson (Grant) and Arik Armstead (Pleasant Grove) in 2011 but lost both to rival programs, which in a way signaled the beginning of the end for Tedford.
Thompson gave a verbal commitment, then switched to Washington amid coaching changes at Cal. He’s a preseason All-America safety-linebacker. Armstead was set to go to Cal, too, but opted for Oregon, where he is expecting a breakout season on the defensive line.
Former Cal running back Mark Orr, a Christian Brothers graduate and longtime Saint Mary’s College athletic director, has been mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Barbour.