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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Langford’s agent: Draft was ‘a joke’

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After 60 picks came and went in Tuesday's NBA Draft, the boards at the Madison Square Garden were littered with unproven international names that were nearly unpronounceable.

But former Kansas University guard Keith Langford, who, along with KU's Aaron Miles, went undrafted, plans to use those gaggles of tongue-twisters as motivation.

"He's disappointed, but he feels like he's been disrespected," Langford's agent, Mark McNeil, said after speaking with his client. "This is going to give him that chip on his shoulder, and he's going to show a lot of NBA teams that they made a mistake.

"This draft was a joke. Teams go ahead and draft these European players right now just to get their rights. It's not fair to American players. Fans don't want to sit there and watch that. The NBA has made it very clear that they intend on making this an international game."

But Langford still may be able to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Not being drafted opens up larger windows of opportunity now for Langford to pick which team he wants to sign with as a free agent and play for in July's NBA summer leagues.

"I told him that if you look at the second half of last year's second round, none of those guys are even in the NBA," McNeil said. "July is what will get you onto on NBA roster."

Of the 30 players selected in last year's second round, 16 of them are not on NBA rosters, including the draft's final 12 picks.

That usually is the case with borderline second-round picks. KU's last second-rounder, Eric Chenowith in 2001, never made the New York Knicks roster.

McNeil said that prior to the draft, he had discussed Langford with Seattle, San Antonio, Portland, Golden State and Houston. Though when it comes to where Langford will suit up in the summer leagues, McNeil said he wanted to place his client in a situation where he actually would get to prove himself in July and not sit on the bench. He said he expected to have Langford somewhere in a week.

As for Miles, much of the pre-draft buzz indicated that he could slip in somewhere toward the end of the second round, but it never came to fruition.

"I was hearing from a couple of different teams going in," Miles said Tuesday night after the draft. "But there was only a possibility of getting drafted. I mean, there's 200 guys in the draft and only 60 spots."

Miles' experience and leadership abilities should make him a valuable commodity during the next several days for teams rummaging through the draft's leftovers to fill out summer rosters.

Summer league play begins with the Reebok Vegas Summer League on July 6-15. The Minnesota Summer League is July 15-19, and the Rocky Mountain Revue is July 15-22.

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