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Bulls select James Johnson at 16 and Taj Gibson at 26

As a sophomore at Wake Forest, Johnson averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game as the Demon Deacons went 24-7. As a junior at USC, Gibson ranked first on his team in rebounds (9.0 rpg), blocks (2.9 bpg), field-goal percentage (.601), second on his team in scoring (14.3 ppg), and third in steals (1.0 spg).

Bulls select Johnson at 16 and Gibson at 26

Click here now for a first round pick-by-pick analysis from Sam Smith.

Audio: Gar Forman and Vinny Del Negro discuss the draft speaker icon (06.25.09)
Sam Smith: Bulls look at not just another guy named Johnson (06.15.09)
Also: Chuck Swirsky goes one-on-one with Johnson (06.15.09)
Audio: Chuck Swirsky interviews USC's Taj Gibson speaker icon (06.08.09)

June 25, 2009 – The Chicago Bulls selected James Johnson, a 6-9, 245 pound forward from Wake Forest with the 16th pick in NBA Draft 2009. Later in the evening, with the 26th overall selection, the Bulls drafted Taj Gibson, a 6-9, 225 pound forward from USC.

As a sophomore at Wake Forest, Johnson averaged 15.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game as the Demon Deacons went 24-7. He became the third player in Wake Forest history to leave early for the NBA, joining Rodney Rogers in 1993 and Chris Paul in 2005.

As a junior at USC, Gibson averaged 14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game while shooting 60.1 percent from the field. He earned All-Conference Second Team honors, while also being named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

NBA Draft 2009
“I think I’ll be interchangeable between the two, three and four spots,” Johnson told Bulls.com following his pre-draft workout on June 15. “I’m constantly working on my body figure, so I think I’ll be able to play any of those positions. It’s just up to the coaches. I can create my own jump shot. I love winning above all, and I can get to the rim.”

Chicago's 16th pick was the team's own first-round pick (the Bulls won a tie-breaker with the 76ers), while the Bulls acquired the 26th selection from Oklahoma City in their Feb. 19 deal that sent Thabo Sefolosha to the Thunder. The Bulls do not own a second round pick this year, as a result of their six-player trade with the Cavaliers on Feb. 21, 2008.

Thursday marked the first NBA Draft under the direction of Gar Forman since he was named Bulls General Manager in May.

On Monday, Forman talked about the team's first round picks: "We feel pretty optimistic that if we stay at 16, we can get a good, productive player, a guy that can play a role for us. And, really, we feel that way at 26 also. We think there will be some intriguing prospects on the board there."