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McClinton, taken in 2nd round, faces long odds

First we heard the Knicks had traded with the Lakers to take him 29th overall. Then, we heard the Heat might scoop him up with one of their second round picks and keep him in town. Now, we know where Jack McClinton is going -- the San Antonio Spurs.

Jack McClinton, a two-time All-ACC First Team selection, will begin his life in the NBA with the Spurs. San Antonio took him in the second round with the 51st pick. Tim Duncan's team and the four-time NBA Champions took McClinton with the 51st pick late Thursday night. It was much later than he hoped, but not a stretch from where most expected him to go -- somewhere between the late first round to the middle second.

McClinton, who was in Baltimore with his family, had this to say about becoming the 17th player in UM history taken in the NBA Draft: "I feel very blessed to have this opportunity to play for a great organization like San Antonio," McClinton said in a statement released by UM. "I've worked for this my whole life and appreciate all the support from my family, coaches and former teammates. I am very excited for this next chapter and look forward to playing for Coach Popovich and the Spurs."

Now, the hard part begins for Jack. Will he be able to cut it? Will he be even be able to make the Spurs' roster or any NBA team's for that matter? At 6-1, 185-pounds and with mediocre point guard skills at best, the odds are long for the two-time All-ACC First Team selection. But if anybody has the will and the inner toughness to keep battling and to find a spot, its McClinton.

It's just going to be really hard. Most of the time, it all depends on who you get drafted by. In 2006, Guillermo Diaz left UM with more athletic ability than McClinton and was taken 52nd overall by the Clippers. L.A. had too many guards and no room for him. Diaz still hasn't cracked an NBA roster and will try to make another run this summer on an NBA Summer League team.

Ultimately, that's what's going to make or break McClinton, who will have to compete with NBA vets like Jacque Vaughn, Roger Mason and George Hill on the Spurs roster to earn a spot.

Either way, McClinton deserves a hand for what he did at UM. He went from a player nobody in the country really wanted to being the seventh player from the ACC taken in the draft. Not bad Jack. Not bad.

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