June 26, 2008
Former Lobo J.R. Giddens was chosen by the world champion Boston Celtics in the 1st round of the NBA Draft conducted tonight in New York. Giddens, an Associated Press honorable mention All-American as a senior, was the 30th overall selection. He was the final pick of the 1st round.
"I am truly a blessed individual," said Giddens, who watched the Draft at the Davalos Center with friends, and his Lobo teammates and coaches. "I'm glad I got to share this with my teammates and coaches. I've been dreaming about this (playing in the NBA) since I was 4 when I played on my Fisher-Price basketball goal. My journey is just beginning, though."
Giddens is the 29th New Mexico player chosen in the NBA Draft, and the first since Danny Granger in 2005 (17th overall pick to Indiana Pacers).
Giddens is the 7th Lobo to be taken in the 1st round, joining Granger, Kenny Thomas (1999, Houston), Charles Smith (1997, Miami), Luc Longley (1991, Minnesota), Greg Howard (1970, Phoenix) and Mel Daniels (1967, Cincinnati).
"Just being with the organization gives you chills," said Giddens of his selection by the Celtics. "You can tell how they won an NBA championship."
A 6-5 guard from Oklahoma City, Okla., Giddens led UNM to a 24-9 record and was named the Mountain West Conference co-Player of the Year. He averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds during the 2007-08 season, becoming the first guard to lead the MWC in rebounding. Giddens was the only player in the MWC who ranked in the top-10 in the MWC in scoring, rebounding, FG percentage, assists, steals and blocks.
Giddens also led the MWC in scoring (18.3) and rebounds (8.3) during the 16-game league schedule.
"I couldn't be more happy for J.R.," said University of New Mexico head coach Steve Alford, the former Indiana University All-American who was a 2nd-round draft pick of the Dallas Mavericks in 1987. "It has been a long road, but it has also been a great story. He has done an awful lot of work to get to this point. He has been a model player to coach and a model teammate. Now he's going to the world champs and the most storied franchise ever."
Giddens is the first 1st-round pick for Alford in 17 seasons as a head coach. Alford just completed his first season at New Mexico.