June 27, 2003
UCLA's Jason Kapono, who during his four-year Bruin career became the school's all-time three-point producer, on Thursday at the 2003 NBA Draft held at New York City's Madison Square Garden, was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the No. 2 choice in the second round (No. 31 overall).
Kapono now joins high school sensation LeBron James, who was the No. 1 selection in the draft by the Cavaliers.
Since 2001, the Bruins have had four players taken in the second round of the NBA Draft - 2001 Earl Watson (No. 40 overall by Seattle, now with Memphis); 2002 Dan Gadzuric (No. 34 overall by Milwaukee) and 2002 Matt Barnes (No. 46 overall by Memphis, traded to Cleveland, spent last season with Fayetteville, NC in the NBA Developmental League).
During his distinguished four-year (2000-2003) UCLA career, Kapono became the first Bruin in history to - earn first-team All-Pac-10 four consecutive seasons; get the Coach John Wooden Award (Kapono shared it every season) four straight years as the team's MVP and to lead the Bruins in scoring four consecutive seasons. Kapono, who at the end of his senior season was a finalist for the first-ever Collegiate Basketball Student-Athlete of the Year Award (given by the Albuquerque, NM Convention & Visitors Bureau), is UCLA's all-time three-point producer (317-710, 44.6/his 317 three-pointers is No. 3 on the Pac-10 list) and is tied with Reggie Miller as the school's No. 3 all-time scorer (2,095, tied for No. 7 with Miller on the Pac-10 chart).
"I am overjoyed, excited and thrilled to be a Cavalier," Kapono said. "It's a great organization to be a part of and it presents a great opportunity for a player like me. The process was very rigorous and exhausting, but to hear my name called was a dream realized and the start of my professional career.
"Cleveland is an up and coming team," he said. "There's a lot of young talent, surrounded by solid, veteran front-court players. With LeBron James and Head Coach Paul Silas, only good things are bound to happen for the future of this club."