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Beat Writers' 2005 Draft Day Predictions

Here's the quotes from articles on the morning of the 2005 draft:

North Carolina forward Sean May heard he won't get past 13. Syracuse stud Hakim Warrick was told he'll go 6 to 15. UConn's Charlie Villanueva insists he doesn't want to know where he'll likely end up, but many see him gone by No. 14.

So what are the Nets to do at No. 15? Maybe go for a shooter.

If those prized size guys are gone and two others, Arizona State's Ike Diogu and Kansas' Wayne Simien, loom as a bit undersized, maybe the Nets turn attention to Louisville's Francisco Garcia or Texas A&M's Antoine Wright tonight in the annual NBA Draft.

Garcia worked out for the Nets and left them very impressed with his fundamentals and knowledge of the game. Wright didn't work out for them in person, but the Nets might consider him if their prime targets are already taken.

"It surprises me a little because I didn't work out for them, but I've been having great workouts and I guess the word is spreading," Wright, who shot .501 from the field this past season, said of possible Nets interest. "New Jersey is a great team and I'm just happy to be on their board."

Wright was among 16 projected first-round picks in midtown yesterday. While some players see themselves as definite lottery-pick material, Wright claimed the Nets would be a "great" fit for him.

--Fred Kerber, New York Post

When the Nets pick 15th in tonight's NBA draft, they might be feeling blue. Carolina blue, that is.

Vince Carter probably loves that the Nets have fellow North Carolina products Rashad McCants and Sean May on their draft board. Carter would be even happier if one of them is a Net by tonight.

According to league sources, the Nets are strongly considering taking McCants with the No. 15 pick. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged 17.6 points at North Carolina, and along with May, helped the Tar Heels win the national championship.

"We're going to take who we think is the best player on the board," Nets general manager Ed Stefanski said.

McCants, power forwards May, Arizona State's Ike Diogu, Connecticut's Charlie Villanueva and Kansas' Wayne Simien; Syracuse small forward Hakim Warrick, Louisville shooter Francisco Garcia and prep point guard Monta Ellis (a very long shot) are on the Nets' list of potential picks, depending on how the draft plays out.

Conventional thinking says the Nets, who pick No. 43 in the second round, need a power forward.

May, Diogu and Villanueva fit the bill. But the Nets plan to address that need in free agency where Shareef Abdur-Rahim is priority No. 1, then Donyell Marshall and Stromile Swift.

For that reason, the Nets may go for McCants or Garcia.

--Al Iannazzone, The Record

HAKIM WARRICK would love to snag alley-oops from Jason Kidd. So would Sean May and Charlie Villanueva.

But the Nets may opt to add another North Carolina shooting guard with the 15th pick in tonight's draft. According to league sources, the Nets may be leaning toward selecting the 6-4 Rashad McCants.

The junior guard has lottery talent, but questions about his character and attitude could scare teams away and drop him to the Nets or lower.

General manager Ed Stefanski said the Nets are considering McCants, Syracuse's 6-9 Warrick, North Carolina's 6-9 May, UConn's 6- 11 Villanueva, Arizona State's 6-9 Ike Diogu, Kansas' 6-9 Wayne Simien, Louisville's 6-7 Francisco Garcia and Mississippi prep star Monta Ellis.

The Nets, like many other teams, are unsure of how tonight's unpredictable draft will play out, with several trade scenarios that could alter things.

Warrick seems tailor-made to run alongside Kidd, with explosive leaping ability that has made him one of the best finishers in the draft. However, many wonder if he can do much else.

--Ohm Youngmisuk, New York Daily News

The Nets' list of candidates is a little shorter for today's NBA Draft.

Nets president Rod Thorn said he is hopeful there are any one of seven players still available for their No. 15 pick, down from 10-12 last week.

And in the unlikelihood that all of those selections are gone when it comes time to choose, Thorn said New Jersey would investigate trading the pick.

"In that case, we would try to make a trade,' Thorn said. "But we feel that one of those players should be there at 15."

The players on the Nets' board, discounting an unexpected freefall from a player in the top 8, are believed to be forwards Charlie Villanueva (Connecticut), Sean May (North Carolina), Hakim Warrick (Syracuse), Ike Diogu (Arizona State) and Wayne Simien (Kansas). Two guards Rashad McCants (North Carolina) and Francisco Garcia (Louisville) are also there.

--Bob Considine, Bridgewater Courier-News

THE CANDIDATES: Charlie Villanueva, the UConn kid who inspires wildly varying opinions; Hakim Warrick, the Syracuse swifty who would put the zoom back in the break, and Sean May, the rock-solid North Carolina power forward. THE PICK: May is probably the only one of the three who will be on the board, if the Warriors (Warrick at No. 9) and Bobcats (Villanueva at No. 13) follow the plan. It's not a bad consolation prize: The Tarheel wide-body is a volume rebounder and very intelligent, and he would add some muscle to a front line that lacks it. That's not to say that the Nets aren't also considering Wayne Simien, Ike Diogu or Fran Vazquez, however.

--Dave D'Alessandro, Star-Ledger