PHILADELPHIA (AP) Georgia Tech's Thaddeus Young, Colorado State forward Jason Smith and Vanderbilt swingman Derrick Byars all arrived June 6 for a pre-draft workout with the Philadelphia 76ers.
On Saturday, all three were sitting at the podium to meet reporters. The 76ers also introduced Providence forward Herbert Hill, another one of the nearly four dozen players the team worked out in anticipation of Thursday's NBA draft.
``I couldn't be happier,'' said Young, the Sixers' top pick in the first round at No. 12. ``After I got drafted, I was ready to get to Philadelphia to get started. The fans are going to see a player who works extremely hard and will do anything, I mean anything, to help the team win.''
The Sixers took 19-year-old Young, a 6-foot-8 forward, with players such as Florida State's Al Thornton and Kansas Julian Wright still on the board.
Young averaged 14.4 points in his only season at Georgia Tech and helped guide the team to a 20-12 record and a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Yellow Jackets were eliminated by UNLV in the first round.
``I felt like I got so much better in the year between high school and college,'' Young said. ``I learned most of all that I didn't know much and had a lot to learn about the college game. It'll probably be the same in the NBA.''
Smith was taken at No. 20 by the Miami Heat before being dealt to the Sixers for Ohio State guard Daequan Cook, who was selected one pick later. The Heat also received a 2009 second-round pick and cash.
Smith played three seasons at Colorado State and averaged 16.8 points and 10.2 rebounds in his junior season before opting for the draft. The 7-foot Smith finished his career with 24 double-doubles, the second-most in school history.
``I can help in the low post with rebounding and scoring,'' Smith said. ``The Sixers are a great organization and I feel like I can contribute. ... This is an organization on the rise and I'm very excited about the upcoming season.''
The Sixers could begin the season with their second-round picks vying for playing time as well. After the first round, they selected Finland's Petteri Kopenen at No. 30 and then traded him to Portland for cash and the No. 42 pick, which turned out to be Byars.
The Sixers also drafted 7-foot center Kyrylo Fesenko from the Ukraine and sent him to Utah for Hill. Byars averaged 17 points per game and led the Commodores to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.
``I was a little disappointed that I wasn't taken in the first round but I'm not going to worry about it,'' Byars said. ``I'm with a team that wants me and that means a lot.''
Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said he believes that all four players provide depth for the Sixers, who finished 35-47 last season.
``Now it's up to them and the coaches to see where all the pieces fit,'' Cheeks said. ``They're all very talented and great character guys. Right now, we'll get a chance to get everyone on the floor and take it from there.''
(Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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