Rogers feels wanted after IBL selection

Options open

Daniels is BayRunners' No. 1

July 20, 1999|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Until he had to talk about June 30, former Lake Clifton and George Washington star Shawnta Rogers was having a happy draft at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor Hotel last night.

For starters, Rogers was invited to the International Basketball League draft, unlike the NBA version at the MCI Center in Washington, which he watched at home.

And as the third-round pick of the Baltimore BayRunners, it was a warmer feeling than three weeks ago, when Rogers sat waiting for a call that wouldn't come.

"My stats and my abilities speak for themselves -- better than any other guard in the draft," he said, "So I think that I should have been taken in the NBA draft."

But he wasn't, so on he went to the secondary heap that was the IBL's draft list, from which the Cincinnati Stuff plucked former Miami of Ohio star Devin Davis as the league's first pick.

The BayRunners already had Rogers as a territorial pick before the day began, so their first selection was Lloyd Daniels, the New York City schoolboy legend who was last seen averaging 14.7 points and 3.7 assists for AEK of Greece.

After Davis, St. Louis took Robert Werdann of St. John's; Richmond drafted James Blackwell of Dartmouth and San Diego picked Jermaine Ousley of Memphis. New Mexico selected Chris Jent (Ohio State) after Baltimore's first pick, and Trenton and Las Vegas closed out the first round with Kevin Ollie (Connecticut) and Dexter Boney (UNLV), respectively.

While the choice of the 31-year-old Daniels may seem an odd one for a league that has been selling its youthful approach, BayRunners coach Herb Brown said his staff picked the best player available at the time.

"Lloyd Daniels was the best player on our board, and we had 70 or 80 guys on our board," Brown said. "Both [assistants] Terry Truax and Sam Worthen felt the same way."

Brown said that the first six rounds went according to plan, and that the one player left that he still wanted -- Nebraska center Mikki Moore -- will be around when the BayRunners begin the second part of the draft today at 11 a.m.

"We walked in today with five guys that we wanted, and we'll get that fifth guy because we have the first pick of the seventh round. We already have the other four," said Brown, who also took Butler (Kan.) Community College product Stephen Jackson, Wake Forest's Anthony Tucker and Lamont Jones of Bridgeport (Conn.) College.

Former Dunbar High and Maryland player Rodney Elliott was another pick pre-selected as a territorial choice, along with George Washington's Yegor Mescheriakov.

For all of the players drafted, including Rogers, 22, and Elliott, 23, the league is seen as a possible steppingstone into the NBA, with whom both players have workouts scheduled throughout the next month.

Elliott, who was with a team in Belgium last year, flew into Baltimore from southern California, where he had been participating in a summer league with the Los Angeles Clippers.

He plans to play in a similar league in Utah, along with mem- bers of the Denver Nuggets.

And Rogers is mulling over opportunities to play in summer leagues with the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets.

Both said the BayRunners are an option only if their NBA dreams fade for this year.

Said Rogers, who added that he had gotten offers from European teams: "I'm not focusing on those options until I get done with what I need to get done first. I need to take care of my goals first, then all of those other things come under it."

Rogers is still having a hard time understanding why he wasn't drafted, even though he knows that his 5-foot-4 stature had a lot to do with it.

He set career records at GW for steals (310), assists (634) and three-pointers (223), finishing with 1,701 points.

"Everyone talked about my size, but that should have been put aside because of what I did in college," Rogers said. "I feel like I've done well everywhere I've been."

Elliott, who tried out with the Toronto Raptors earlier, could go back to Belgium, where he was successful. France is an option, as well.

But the 6-8 forward said that he would like to stay home if the NBA doesn't work out.

"I'm honored that the IBL is excited about having me," he said. "At this point, no doors are closed, but I'm geared toward [playing in] the States.

"Just the fact of being far away from home -- there's a lot that goes into that. I don't want to jump back into that right away."

Pub Date: 7/20/99

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