Gray Drafted In Late Second Round
Associated Press
Senior Writer
Posted Jun 28, 2007

Aaron Gray's wild three-month journey is over, and it ended with him being selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 49th overall pick and the 21st in the second round during the annual NBA Draft late Thursday night at Madison Square Garden.

"He's another guy with a big body,'' ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said. "He can take up space and rebound and helps Chicago in the post a little bit. He's not a great athlete, not a guy that's going to score over you, but a great space eater.''

A starting center the past two seasons for the University of Pittsburgh men's basketball team, Aaron Gray worked out for 16 NBA teams.

"This was a great experience, and I'm happy with all the work I put into it,'' Gray said. "I did everything I could possibly do to get ready for this day.''

Gray worked extremely hard after Pitt's season ended in the NCAA Tournament this past March. However, he was out of shape and in poor condition primarily because he could not train properly due to a severe ankle injury a month earlier during a home game against Washington. But once Gray was healthy, he went to work.

After a month in Las Vegas with trainer Joe Abunassar, Gray reportedly weighed 271 pounds -- about 15 lighter than he was after the season. And his body fat went from 16 to 10.5 percent. This likely helped Gray run the court during his whirlwind tour of NBA cities.

"Aaron was one of the hardest working players we've ever had here,'' Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "I believe he has put himself in position to be in the NBA for a long time. So, barring injury, he should have an excellent NBA career, and that's what we had hoped for him.''

Gray left for Las Vegas the night after he graduated from Pitt, and he worked out three times daily during the month there. The first Big East player selected in the draft was Conference Player of the Year Jeff Green from Georgetown. He went fifth overall to the Boston Celtics.

Gray watched the NBA Draft from his parents' home in Emmaus, Pa.

Three players from Florida were taken in the top nine in the first round, while two from Ohio State went in the top four, including No. 1 selection Greg Oden by the Portland Trailblazers. Also, among the top 12 picks in the first round, six were freshmen with NCAA Player of the Year Kevin Durant from Texas going second overall to the Seattle Supersonics. And just two seniors were taken in the top 14 (lottery picks).

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