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Sam Young

Sam Young

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Pitt All-American DeJuan Blair announced April 9 that he was leaving Pitt with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

At his news conference, Blair said there was no reason for him to return to school, saying, "I'm guaranteed of being a first-round pick," Blair said.

"I'm an Internet freak.

I go on all the draft boards.

No one has me going in the second round.

That's almost a guarantee to me."Blair found out last night there are no guarantees on draft night.

Blair, a 6-foot-6, 275-pound forward, was not selected until the San Antonio Spurs made him the seventh pick of the second round.There are absolutely no guarantees being a second-round pick.

First-round draft picks receive a guaranteed contract for two seasons with club options for the third and fourth years.

Second-round picks have to make a team in order to cash an NBA paycheck.Blair was in a jovial mood to start the day and allowed the Post-Gazette to chronicle his draft-day experience.11:05 a.m.: Blair arrives at the Monroeville home of Greg Mitchell, his friend and personal barber.

ESPN News is on the big screen television in Mitchell's basement game room, but Blair doesn't want to look or listen.

He has had enough of draft talk to last a lifetime.In an adjacent room sits a barber's chair and three signed and framed magazines with Blair on the cover.

Mitchell has been Blair's barber since childhood, and Blair refuses to have anyone else cut his hair.

This was his first haircut in months after spending most of the past two months training in Florida and visiting with NBA teams."That's why I look like Wolfman Jack," Blair said.Before the haircut, Blair exits upstairs to the kitchen and comes back with a plate of scrambled eggs with cheese.

Blair, who lost 30 pounds in the weeks leading up to the draft, is maintaining his strict diet that does not allow carbohydrates.

When asked what he would eat before his nutritionist took control of his diet, Blair said: "Probably a thousand pancakes."11:26 a.m.: Blair receives a good luck text from Herb Pope, the former Aliquippa High School star who is now a college basketball player at Seton Hall.

At one time, Pope, not Blair, was the most sought-after prospect in Pittsburgh.

"He said he hopes I go to the [New Jersey] Nets," Blair said.11:30 a.m.: The talk turns toward the draft.

The NBA news of the day was Cleveland acquiring Shaquille O'Neal from the Phoenix Suns.

Mitchell said he'd like to see Blair get drafted by Cleveland, but Blair said he would be happy wherever he landed."Either way, I know tomorrow I'll be in the NBA," he said.

"I was thinking about back in high school ...

I went to an NBA camp.

They told us then that only five of you out of the 100 will make it to the NBA.

I started praying that was going to be me.

Now it's going to come true."11:40 a.m.: Blair is working two cell phones, talking and texting to his agent Happy Walters, friends and family.

He is trying to make plans for the rest of the day and evening.

He is looking forward to some down time without the distractions."I wish I could turn them off, but Happy told me not to," he said.1:10 p.m.: After getting groomed by Mitchell, Blair departs Monroeville and heads back to Pittsburgh.

On the way, Blair is asked by Ashley Smith, a public relations specialist from Walters' office, if he'd like to get something to eat as they drive by a row of fast-food restaurants in Monroeville."I have no appetite at all," Blair said.The draft is on his mind.

Blair reveals three teams are showing the most interest in him -- Indiana, Chicago and Utah."I don't think I'll go past 23," he said.

"If I do, that will be the teams' fault."1:35 p.m.: Blair encounters traffic one mile before the Squirrel Hill tunnel.

He hurriedly changes lanes in hopes of getting around the traffic jam, but to no avail."This is the one thing I won't miss about Pittsburgh," he said.

"I hate traffic.

I don't have any patience."2 p.m.: Blair finally arrives downtown.

He is off to pick up his godson, Landale, and treat him to some ice cream.

He wants to get his mind off the draft for a while.

After that, he was going to nap before settling down with friends and family at his draft party.7:39 p.m.: Blair is watching the draft with a small entourage at the Omni Hotel.

NBA commissioner David Stern announces that Blake Griffin is the No.

1 overall pick of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The wait officially begins in earnest for Blair.7:46 p.m.: Blair's rival from the Big East, Hasheem Thabeet of Connecticut is taken with the No.

2 overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies.8:50 p.m.: The Indiana Pacers select Tyler Hansbrough.

The Pacers had been one of the teams showing the most interest in Blair, and this was the first realistic slot where Blair might be drafted.9:27 p.m.: The Utah Jazz selects Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth with the No.

20 pick.

The three teams to show the most interest in Blair during the draft process pass on him.9:44 p.m.: The Sacramento Kings take Omri Casspi with the No.

23 selection.

Blair had expected to be celebrating by now.9:52 p.m.: The Cleveland Cavaliers select Christian Eyenga with the final pick of the first round.10:40 p.m.: Blair's publicist tells the media that Blair will not be speaking.10:49 p.m.: Blair's teammate, Sam Young, is selected by the Memphis Grizzlies with the 36th pick.10:50 p.m.: Blair is selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 37th selection, ending his long wait.Ray Fittipaldo can be reached at [email protected] published on June 26, 2009 at 12:00 am

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09177/980024-175.stm
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