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Young blood drawn early

Even more than usual, the NBA draft belonged to the young.

The first five selections Wednesday night were players younger than 21, including four who left school after their sophomore years and one straight out of high school.

The Golden State Warriors made Joe Smith, a 6-foot-10 forward from Maryland with silky inside moves, the first pick.

"When I got to Maryland, no one expected me to have as successful a season as I had," said Smith, who was not recruited heavily out of high school. "I came out and surprised everybody, even myself."

The Los Angeles Clippers followed with forward Antonio McDyess, a player largely unnoticed during his two years at Alabama until his strong post-season.

Later, the Clippers traded the rights to McDyess along with Randy Woods to Denver for the 15th pick, Brent Barry of Oregon State _ son of former ABA star Rick Barry and brother of three past and current college players _ and forward Rodney Rogers.

Choosing third, Philadelphia took North Carolina's Jerry Stackhouse, a forward expected to play shooting guard.

Stackhouse, who was projected as the second pick but didn't want to play for the hapless Clippers, was thrilled to slip to third.

"When I heard McDyess at No.

2, I was as happy as if they had called my name."

And McDyess was relieved to swap his Clippers cap for one with the Nuggets' name on it.

"It is a better program and situation for myself," he said. "I will be able to learn a lot from (center) Dikembe Mutombo."

Washington, picking fourth, went for another sophomore Tar Heel _ Rasheed Wallace, a 6-10 center/forward.

Minnesota went fifth, producing the biggest question mark of the draft: 6-10 forward Kevin Garnett of Chicago, only the fourth high school player selected in an NBA draft.

"I've seen a lot in my 19 years," Garnett said. "I do not think I'm the average 19-year-old. Given the chance, I'm going to prove to all of you that I am man enough to take what is given and mature enough to give it out."

Not until the expansion Vancouver Grizzlies took Bryant Reeves at No.

6 was a four-year player selected.

The other new franchise, the Toronto Raptors, made Arizona point guard Damon Stoudamire a surprise seventh choice. The Raptors had a point guard, former Chicago Bull B.J. Armstrong, from the expansion draft, but general manager Isiah Thomas said Armstrong would be traded.

In Oakland Coliseum Arena, about 2,000 fans cheered wildly when Smith's name was announced. "You will love this guy," new Warriors general manager Dave Twardzik told the fans. "He's a blue-collar worker, he's going to do a lot of dirty work for us.

"He's a guy that has improved every year, we think there's still a tremendous amount of growth to him."

Up next:ACC as No. 1