Cassell, No. 1 in Houston, ready to rock for Rockets

July 02, 1993|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,Staff Writer

East Baltimore may be home to former Dunbar High school standout Sam Cassell, but going to Houston to play professional basketball will be a homecoming of sorts.

In Wednesday's NBA draft, the Houston Rockets made Cassell the 24th pick of the first round. Cassell is the first Baltimore player to be selected in the first round since former Dunbar stars Reggie Lewis, Reggie Williams and Muggsy Bogues went in the first round in 1987. In going to Houston, Cassell will be in the same area where he played his first two years of college basketball.

"I went to school in Houston [San Jacinto Junior College], so I'm delighted," said Cassell, a 6-foot-3 guard who played his last two seasons at Florida State. "I'm very pleased where I'm going."

Three weeks ago, Cassell worked out for the Rockets, the only team he visited before the draft. At 6 feet 3 and 195 pounds, Cassell had experience at point and shooting guard in college and figures to be a backup in Houston behind Kenny Smith and Vernon Maxwell.

"Houston is a playoff-contending team, and they came up just one game short of the Western Conference finals," said Cassell, who was not at a movie during Wednesday's draft -- as a family member said -- but was watching the proceedings with his 1-year-old son. "I knew they were interested in me, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to show off my skills."

NB A former Baltimore Sun High School Player of the Year, Cassell

was a standout at San Jacinto, averaging 21.4 and then 23.4 points.

At Florida State, Cassell averaged 18.4 points as a junior. This past season he scored 18.3 points and led the team in assists and steals.

Cassell plans to fly to Houston next week to meet with officials.

"It's a special feeling just to get the chance to play in the NBA," said Cassell, who got a good-luck call from Sacramento Kings forward Walt Williams. "I'm just glad to be a part of the Houston organization."

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