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Hepatitis may have caused Solomon Alabi's drop in NBA draft

Former Florida State center Solomon Alabi's stunningly precipitous fall from a sure-fire first-round NBA draft pick to a late second-rounder apparently was due in part to a diagnosis of Hepatitis B.

His agents at BDA Sports released a statement Friday from Dr. David Lucas, a sports medicine specialist in Clermont, that confirmed Alabi, 22, a third-year sophomore from Nigeria who moved to the United States in June 2005, tested positive for the virus that affects the liver but is often manageable with antiviral medication.

"Contact with this virus is common in the African population," Lucas said. "His condition is easily treated and in no way will affect his ability and performance as a professional basketball player. He can look forward to a long and successful basketball career."

But when the NBA informed all of its teams shortly before Thursday's draft that the 7-foot-1 Alabi had tested positive for the virus, a red flag was raised. Despite his soft shooting touch around the basket and from the free-throw line and, his shot-blocking ability that anchored one of the nation's stingiest defenses last season, team after team passed on him.

Instead of going around 20th overall, as most mock drafts predicted, he remained on the board until Dallas selected him 50th overall. The Mavericks then traded him to Toronto for cash and a future second-round pick.

As a first-rounder, he would have received a guaranteed two-year contract (and a two-year option by the club), for about $1.1 million in the initial year. Second-round picks don't have to be offered guaranteed contracts and assuming Alabi makes the Raptors — a team that needs size, especially if Chris Bosh leaves — he likely will see a salary of less than $500,000 the first year.

"The timing of the information (that went out) was not in his best interests," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said without going into specifics of his former player's medical condition, "but once people have a clear understanding it will not be the issue people thought it would be. He has the ability and the opportunity, and I think he'll be an outstanding pro."

reid goes 57th: In another draft-night surprise, former FSU forward Ryan Reid was taken 57th overall by Indiana and then traded to Oklahoma City. ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said he didn't have Reid, a role player and physical presence for FSU, in his top 90.

"Obviously we're very excited about Ryan," Hamilton said. "I think he will be a guy who will surprise a lot of people. Ryan has a lot of skills and does a lot of things that don't show up in the statistics. That was appreciated and respected by Oklahoma City. They watched him play many, many times, and they know what they're getting."

wall Mania: No. 1 overall pick John Wall got an over-the top reception from the Wizards, driven in an SUV-size limo to the Verizon Center and stepping onto a red carpet surrounded by cheering fans. The mayor proclaimed Friday as "John Wall Day" — an honor Alex Ovechkin didn't get until winning a league MVP. The former Kentucky guard also watched a video that welcomed him, with greetings from Donovan McNabb, Stephen Strasburg, Ryan Zimmerman and Ovechkin, who did a fist-rotating imitation of the John Wall Dance.

trade: The Nets traded guard Chris Douglas-Roberts to the Bucks for a second-round draft pick in 2012. The former Memphis star fell into disfavor in the second half of the season, partly for being outspoken.

lebron update: LeBron James won't go on a free-agent tour, like a college recruit to be courted by teams, business manager Maverick Carter said.

bobcats: The team made a one-year, $6.2 million qualifying offer to Tyrus Thomas, making the power forward a restricted free agent. The team can match any offer when free agency begins next week.

celtics: Top draft pick Avery Bradley, a guard from Texas, will have surgery on his left ankle and miss 6-8 weeks.

heat: An Illinois judge has finalized Dwyane Wade's contentious divorce. His wife, Siohvaughn, plans to appeal on the grounds that the judge finalized the divorce before financial issues and custody issues involving the couple's two sons have been resolved.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Hepatitis may have caused Solomon Alabi's drop in NBA draft 06/25/10 [Last modified: Saturday, June 26, 2010 11:15am]
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