FILE - Mississippi State forward Arnett Moultrie in the first round of the 2012 National Basketball Association draft by Miami. Nearly immediately after the pick was announced, the pick was reportedly traded to Philadelphia. Photo by: MSU athletics
June 28, 2012 10:14:47 PM
STARKVILLE - For the first time in 16 years, Mississippi State University produced a first round pick in the 2012 National Basketball Association draft with the selection of Arnett Moultrie
Less than month after the Miami Heat won the NBA championship, they selected the Bulldogs 6-foot-11 forward with the 27th overall selection in the draft. Just as soon as the pick was made, multiple reports surfaced that the Heat would be trading Moultrie to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 45 overall pick and a future first-rounder with a year to be determined later.
"I thought Moultrie would be a right fit but they're a championship team and they'll be just fine coming back next season without Arnett Moultrie," ESPN analyst Chris Broussard joked on Thursday's draft broadcast.
Moultrie, who surprised few by giving up his final year of eligibility with the Bulldogs program, became the first MSU product taken in the first round since the combination of Erick Dampier and Dontae Jones were selected 10th and 21st respectively.
"He really improved his skill set in the year he sat out as a transfer (from the University of Texas-El Paso," ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said after Moultrie was drafted.
Multiple texts and phone calls to Moultrie Thursday evening were not returned.
According to the NBA collective bargaining agreement, the 27th pick is slotted at $868,600, and Moultrie can make between 80 and 120 percent of that number. Philadelphia went 35-31 in a lockout-shortened season and lost to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The last MSU player to be drafted was Jarvis Varnado when college basketball's all-time leader in blocked shots was selected by Miami in the second round during the 2010 draft.
MSU were the only school with first round picks in professional football, baseball and basketball drafts this year.
Moultrie led the Southeastern Conference in rebounding this season at 10.5 per game but puzzled a lot of player personnel executives by declining the physical workouts at the Chicago pre-draft camp earlier this month beginning rumors that he and his agent Derek Lafayette were given a promise by the Detroit Pistons franchise that he would be their choice at No. 9 overall in this draft.
It is perceived the declining to workout in the combine and a physical concerns about Moultrie's knees along with some bad body language on a MSU team that self destructed down the stretch this past season is what contributed to the Bulldogs forward's draft fall.
"(The NBA teams) have all told me I have lottery talent but it all depends on how I perform at these workouts," Moultrie told Oregonlive.com after a workout with the Trailblazers organization on June 16.
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