He thought maybe he would be going to the Orlando Magic, the glittery, mega-successful young franchise just two hours east of his hometown. How wrong he was.
Instead, Florida forward/center Andrew DeClercq, the former Clearwater Countryside star, is headed to California, far from his parents, a good five hours away. By plane.
Still, showing the kind of attitude that won him so many fans among NBA scouts in the first place, DeClercq said he was glad to be selected 34th overall _ fifth in the second round _ by the Golden State Warriors in the NBA draft Wednesday night. Glad, even though many predicted he would be a first-round pick, even though the Magic had shown so much interest in him.
"I'm happy. My name was up there," said DeClercq, 6 feet 10, who started every game during his career at Florida. "It probably wasn't what I might have expected, but I'm glad for the opportunity."
DeClercq wasn't the first player with Florida ties to go in the draft. Florida State shooting guard Bob Sura, the Seminoles' all-time scoring leader, was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 17th pick.
Sura said he was surprised Cleveland selected him, because he had not worked out for the Cavs. Sura did not attend any of the pre-draft camps.
DeClercq, 22, also was taken by surprise, for more reasons than one. Not only was he hoping _ maybe expecting _ to go in the first round, but he had not even talked to Golden State, which also took Maryland's Joe Smith with the No. 1 overall pick.
DeClercq and a few family members sat around the television at his home in Clearwater, watching as the Magic _ one of four teams he had interviewed with _ passed him over for David Vaughn at No. 25. He sat through eight more selections before hearing his name read at about 10:25 p.m.
Two factors probably hurt DeClercq: the abundance of players like him available for the draft, and the fact that he had not worked out at any of the pre-draft camps or for any team. A relapse of the mononucleosis he suffered after the season kept him from displaying his storied determination and work ethic.
"I didn't think (the illness) would, but I guess it hurt me a lot more than I thought," DeClercq said.
Still, he is upbeat. Though he has never lived in California, he said he sees it as "part of growing up" and said he is ready to make his contribution where he can.
Sura is equally eager. In four years at Florida State, his play ranged from reckless to erratic to brilliant. But the Cavs decided Sura's talent was worth the uncertainty.
Sura grinned when he heard his name called at Toronto's SkyDome, where the draft was conducted. He was the third shooting guard selected.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Sura is regarded as a talented and versatile player who could play either shooting guard or point guard for the Cavs _ a team that two weeks ago acquired shooting guard Harold Miner from the Miami Heat.
"I think I'm a little similar to a guy like Clyde Drexler," Sura said. "I'm a great rebounder from the guard, I can start the fast break, and I can finish the fast break."