Center to seek free agent deal

Friday, June 26, 2009 12:09 AM
Last updated 12:50 AM
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When the name Robert Dozier, of Memphis, was called with the final pick of the NBA Draft, Garret Siler never said a bad word.

“He’s a good guy,” Siler said.

After a long, draining NBA Draft, the former Augusta State All-American never heard his phone ring or his name called Thursday night as he sat in his parents’ living room.

“It’s a good experience just to have my name mentioned with the NBA Draft,” he said. “I’m not complaining. It’s just a different road to take.”

Though he didn’t get picked in the two rounds, which totaled 60 picks, Siler’s NBA dream is far from over.

Just because the 22-year-old Siler didn’t get drafted, he can still latch onto a team through the league’s Free Agent Camp this summer. And Siler has a few connections.

Through his agent, Siler knows he may be going to Dallas, Houston and Miami for an extended job interview this summer.

“Everything happens for a reason,” Siler said. “I see this as a challenge.”

“He’s talented,” former teammate Demetrius Howard said. “Not getting drafted is not the end of the world. From the looks of it, he’s very motivated. This is just a speed bump.”

The 7-foot, 278-pound Siler set the NCAA career record for field-goal percentage. This past season, he shot 79 percent from the floor, averaging 16.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks a game.

Siler was bidding to become the first Peach Belt Conference player, as well as the third Augusta State player (Joe McBride, Chip Johnson), selected in the draft.

Siler also was trying to become the first local player to get selected in the NBA Draft since William Avery (Westside) and Vonteego Cummings (Thomson) in 1999. Avery, the No. 14 pick by Minnesota, played three seasons for the Timberwolves. Cummings went No. 26 to Indiana, which traded him to Golden State. He played three seasons in the NBA (two with the Warriors, one with Philadelphia).

Siler helped lead Augusta State to the Division II national championship game during his junior season. This past season, he helped the Jaguars to a 30-5 record and an appearance in the Division II Final Four.

Siler finished his collegiate career seventh in school history in scoring (1,599 points).


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