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Newest Rocket recounts thrill of draft night, being selected No. 14


Former Kentucky star Patrick Patterson decided to forego his senior season to enter the NBA draft, where he was selected by the Rockets with the 14th pick. In the third installment of his diary, the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder from Huntington, W.Va., talks about the excitement of Draft day and what lies ahead in Houston.

Hey world, say hello to the newest member of the Houston Rockets. I'm so happy to finally have a home. After all the hard work I've put in, I'm also relieved.

Draft day was the longest day ever. After breakfast, all prospects had a meeting with the players' association, and Kevin Durant spoke to us about entering the league. We had lunch with commissioner David Stern, and I brought along my family. When I finally got some down time after lunch, I went straight back to my hotel room for a nap. I didn't want to stay up, since I was so nervous, so I forced myself to sleep. I woke up around 4:30 to get dressed and head over to Madison Square Garden. I just wanted the draft to start, but first we had to take pictures and do interviews. It felt like time was moving so slow.

When the draft finally got going, I had my mom, my dad, my grandparents and my agent with me at my table in the green room. Then I settled in to watch the draft just like everyone else out there, keeping up on my phone and watching the crowd reactions.

One thing I hate is the way the TV camera guys walk around in the green room, because they always give away who is about to be picked. And every time the camera guys would walk toward me, I'd get nervous. My pops kept saying, "Are you ready? Button up your suit." That just made me even more anxious.

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Thankfully, the Rockets chose me with the 14th pick, so I didn't have to wait too long. I really had no idea how much Houston wanted me. I didn't even know I was about to be drafted until I saw my agent on the phone with about 30 seconds left before the pick. He was smiling, and then the camera crew came to my table. When the commish called my name, I was shaking, and my parents started crying. My goal all along was to go to New York and get my hat, and I did that.

The first thing that came to my mind about the Rockets was Yao Ming. He's a great player, and that's a team that wants to win. I'm happy to go to Houston, too, because I'm tired of cold weather. I'm going to get plenty of sun in Texas, and I just heard that there's no income tax there, which is a sweet bonus.

As for the rest of the draft, I was obviously happy for all my Kentucky guys. Did anyone see the watch DeMarcus Cousins had on? I told him he could have bought a whole country with that thing it had so many diamonds. Speaking of style, I wanted to win best-dressed at the draft, but Wes Johnson outdid me. Only because of the pants he wore. At first I laughed at him, but then I was like, "man, that's fly."

I was kind of shocked that Hassan Whiteside and Devin Ebanks slipped to the second round, because I went up against both those guys in workouts and they're great players. I guess it's good for them, though, because they both got drafted to good situations.

Anyway, after I walked across the stage, and after almost four hours of media, I finally left MSG and headed over to this place called Greenhouse for John Wall's draft party. That was cool, but I had to wake up early Friday morning to fly to Houston. I met everyone with the Rockets, from team officials to the broadcasters. None of the guys on the team were around, but I've already talked to Chuck Hayes -- who also went to Kentucky -- and Shane Battier left me a message.

Saturday I was back home in Cincinnati to watch the USA-Ghana soccer game, and then I drove down to Huntington, W Va., to celebrate a friend's birthday. Now I'm in Lexington, trying to see as many people as I can before I head back to Houston. I'm going to have to start looking for places to live in H-Town this week, because we start Summer League in Vegas next week.

I can't wait to get on the court and prove myself. I want to be a starter this year, make it to the Rookie-Sophomore challenge and compete for Rookie of the Year. But of course, the most important goal is making the playoffs. And I'll be doing all that wearing No. 54, just like in college.