NBA Draft: Welcome to the Westin

By David Scott - June 27, 2007

NEW YORK - We are about 32 hours from the start of the 2007 NBA Draft and your loyal Hang Time correspondent has touched down in steamy Manhattan for the festivities. We are currently entrenched in the lobby of the Westin Times Square where, at 1 p.m., there is scheduled media availibility with several of the projected top picks (list after the jump).

Upon our arrival we immediately bumped into Greg Oden as he was being shuttled around by some NBA types and avoiding the autograph hounds who are sweating in the midday sun and 90-degree heat as they await their prey. Oden is dressed in a light blue, button down dress shirt, jeans and sneakers (Nikes, of course). He is still tall, for those of you who were wondering.

Oden's teammate, Mike Conley, Jr. and their agent, Conley's father, just walked by the Hang Time perch and Senior is glad-handing the numerous well-wishers who are beginning to congregate at the Westin. Media types, hangers-on and general nuisance makers are also populating the open space of the lobby. A tall gentleman in an Al Thornton No. 12 FSU jersey also passed through and we're going to go out on a limb and guess it was Al's dad, Alford, who goes 6-foot-6. Horford also has three sisters who all nearly six feet tall as well, according to his bio in the handy-dandy NBA Draft Media Guide which has served as our bible since the Orlando Draft Camp.

. . . Yi is in da house! Yi Jianlian has been spotted in the lobby - blue blazer, white shirt, khaki slacks - and a camera crew chronicled him staring around the lobby. Compelling stuff.

. . . Oden just posed for a picture with a young buckeye fan (in an Albert Pujols St. Louis Cardinal jersey) who appears to suffer from some mental disorder. Oden was gracious and friendly and clearly made the fan's day. Nice scene. Oden is surrounded by several "suits" and some fans are beginning to approach him for autographs.

. . . For those of you who recall our Final Four lobby adventures, we're sad to report that Drexel's Tony Chiles is not with us to provide witty repartee and there is a pronounced dearth of adult beverages, but we're still planning on providing worthwhile updates from the fifth floor interviews that commence in about 90 minutes (and last for an hour).

. . . Expected to be available for interviews are: Corey Brewer (Florida), Michael Conley (Ohio St.), Kevin Durant (Texas), Jeff Green (Georgetown), Spencer Hawes (Washington), Al Horford (Florida), Yi Jianlian (China), Acie Law IV (Texas A&M), Joakim Noah (Florida), Greg Oden (Ohio St.), Rodney Stuckey (Eastern Washington) and Julian Wright (Kansas). Al Thornton (Florida State), Brandan Wright (UNC) and Nick Young (USC) were previously scheduled to be at media availability, but due to scheduling they will not be able to attend, accoridng to the NBA.

. . .'s esteemed basketball editor, Bryan Graham, will be joining me here shortly and our plan is to split up live-blogging and interview duties so that we can provide both real-time blogging of the event and also compile some tidbits for features and columns that will be running over the course of the next two days.

. . . For the third event this year, I was originally given the media credential of the Charlotte Observer's David Scott in error. It's becoming clear that I arrive earlier than my namesake and that his credentials, with pictures are always waiting for him. I'm quite used to it now and I'm still contemplating assuming DS's identity for one of these events. if I could just figure out how to break into the Observer's website and file under his name. Which is my name. Which is our name.

Posted by David Scott at 11:38 AM on June 27, 2007

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