Hornets to draft Johnson, paper says PRO BASKETBALL

June 21, 1991|By Knight-Ridder News Service

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Hornets intend to take Larry Johnson of Nevada-Las Vegas with the No. 1 overall pick in Wednesday's NBA draft, a team source told The Charlotte Observer yesterday.

The source said the Hornets have eliminated Syracuse forward Billy Owens. Barring a dramatic and unexpected reversal toward Georgetown center Dikembe Mutombo, the team will take Johnson, a 6-7 forward, with the pick.

Hornets vice president Allan Bristow would acknowledge only that team management has eliminated one of the two forwards under consideration and has one player in mind. He said he plans not to reveal the Hornets' decision until draft night.

"I know who we'd pick right now if we drafted today," Bristow said. "I don't want to eliminate Dikembe. It could be the weekend before we do."

Asked to describe Johnson's assets, Bristow said, "rebounding, leadership, toughness, scoring. And he wins." Bristow said he has seen Johnson play in person 11 times over the past two years, plus every game of his senior season on videotape.

Johnson canceled an interview with the Sacramento Kings this week, saying he knew he would be gone before the Kings' No. 3 overall pick.

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