June 26, 1997
Rhodes is 24th Pick in NBA Draft
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Rodrick Rhodes, who played his final collegiate season at USC, was the No. 24 pick in the first round by the Houston Rockets in the NBA Draft on Wednesday evening.
Rhodes is the first Trojan taken in the draft since Harold Miner and Duane Cooper were selected in 1992.
Rhodes, who transferred from Kentucky, averaged 14.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.6 steals a game in 1996-97 while playing point guard. He won the Fred Hessler Award as the Pac-10's top newcomer. He is expected to be a shooting guard for the Rockets.
"Rodrick plays a penetrating game where he can drive and pass off," Houston Coach Rudy Tomjanovich told the Houston Chronicle. "He's a guy who people might say doesn't fit our system, but that's what we were looking for -- a more athletic type of player.
"He's got a knack for getting into the paint and making some beautiful passes. He's a little bit different for us in that he adds the element of penetration for us.
"I've got a good feeling about the guy.
"We think there's a talent there. There's always a need for a 6-7 creative player like he is. And he's a good worker too. Now it's up to him and us to get it done."
Said Rhodes, in the Houston Chronicle: "I'm a good one-on-one player. I feel like I can get around people, and I'm a good passer and can defend point guards, shooting guards and small forwards.
"I feel good about my shooting. I'm willing to put in the work. The Rockets said they feel like they can change my shot a little and it'll be better. I feel like this is a great fit for me.
"I'm very happy, overwhelmed. This is a dream for me. I couldn't have asked to go to a better place."
Rhodes told the Los Angeles Times: "Out of all the picks in the draft, I think I got the best situation. How many people will get to practice everyday with three Hall of Famers? How many people will get to play with (Charles) Barkley, (Hakeem) Olajuwon and (Clyde) Drexler. That's three Hall of Famers, man."