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Biedrins Leads European Parade Into NBA

25 June 2004

Latvian center Andris Biedrins was the top European player to be selected in this year’s NBA draft. He was snapped up by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th pick.

The 18-year old Biedrins had a sensational season for club side Skonto Riga, averaging 18.6 ppg and 8 rpg in the FIBA Europe League. He is also expected to take part in the upcoming European Championship for U18 Men in Zaragoza, Spain.

Utah Jazz star Andrei Kirilenko has had a big impact on the NBA and now four of his Russian compatriots are hoping to do the same after being selected in the league's draft.

Three were selected in the first round, and one towards the end of the second.

Utah chose 2.26m Russian centre Pavel Podkolzine with the 21st pick and sent him to Dallas for a future first-round pick.

Sergey Monia
The New Jersey Nets were next and chose Russian forward Viktor Khryapa but traded him to the Trail Blazers, receiving Eddie Gill and cash considerations in return.

And then Portland used their third first-round pick on Russia's high-flying international forward Sergei Monia, Khryapa's team-mate on CSKA Moscow.

The final Russian selected was Sergei Karaulov. He went to San Antonio with the 57th pick overall.

There were plenty of other Europeans to be selected.

England's Luol Deng, a sensational freshman at Duke University who led the Blue Devils into last season's NCAA Final Four, will play for the Chicago Bulls after being selected seventh.

Phoenix drafted the Sudanese-born Deng, but the Bulls' acquired the player's rights in a deal with the Suns.

A pair of Slovenians went with successive picks.

The Los Angeles Lakers got guard Sasha Vujacic 27th pick, while guard Beno Udrih was chosen by San Antonio, a club that already has a Slovenian in centre Rasho Nesterovic.

In the second round, Spain's Albert Miralles was chosen 39th by Toronto, a pick they acquired from Cleveland.

The Atlanta Hawks have the Republic of Georgia's Viktor Sanikidze after his selection with the 42nd pick.

Ukraine's Sergei Lishchuk has gone to the Memphis Grizzlies with the 49th pick.

Dallas have taken Greek star Vassillis Spanoulis with the 50th pick, while Denmark's Christian Drejer went with the following selection to New Jersey.

Drejer left the Florida Gators in mid-season and signed for Barcelona in the ACB, and recently celebrating winning the title with them.

The final European to go in the draft was Karaulov to the Spurs with the 57th pick.

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