Nuggets big man JaVale McGee hit the beach for NBA Draft

Seven-foot center was the 18th overall pick in 2008
by Aaron Lopez

Sitting alone in a hotel room in Key West, Fla., the 7-foot center out of Nevada watched then-NBA Commissioner David Stern announce his name.

“With the 18th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select JaVale McGee.”

“I was excited,” McGee recalled. “I was very humbled.”

After averaging 14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks as a sophomore at Nevada, McGee declared for the draft as a 20-year-old big man with tremendous athleticism and shot-blocking ability.

He went through predraft workouts and then decided to head to Key West when it became apparent he was not going to be among the 14 lottery picks.

“I was like, ‘I might as well go on vacation,’ ” McGee said. “I had never been to Key West before. It was the cheapest, nicest vacation I could afford to take.”

After some R&R, McGee joined the Wizards and eventually became Washington’s starting center before being acquired by the Denver Nuggets on March 15, 2012.