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Despite no picks, Hornets draft party draws 300-plus fans
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Although the teams trade with Portland wasnt officially announced until a few hours into the 2008 NBA Draft, New Orleans fans were well aware of the fact that the Hornets would not be adding a player to the roster Thursday. That didnt stop over 300 of the teams avid supporters from attending the Hornets annual draft party, though.

In yet another sign of fans enthusiasm for the Hornets, the Fox & Hound restaurant in Metairie was jam-packed on draft night, despite the fact that New Orleans essentially did not have a draft pick. The Hornets had previously traded their 2008 second-round pick.

We were definitely very excited that we had approximately 300 people there throughout the evening, Hornets director of promotions and events Cris Quintana said. Since we knew ahead of time that it was likely that we werent going to draft a player, we were a little uncertain of how many fans would be there. But Fox & Hound received several phone calls earlier in the day from people who wanted to make sure the party was still on, so that was a good sign that it was going to be a success.

We were very, very pleased with the turnout, Fox & Hound general manager Michelle Ellzey said. It really shows much fans love the Hornets. We hope that this is the beginning of a great relationship, in which we can host future Hornets events here.

Fans who attended the bash were treated to a multitude of free giveaway items, including T-shirts, hats, gift baskets and Honeybees team posters. An autographed basketball signed by Hornets players was also raffled off during the party and presented to a winning season ticket holder.

I actually wasnt expecting a crowd, so the fact that people showed up is really encouraging for next season, said Hornets season ticket holder Sarah Tolcser, who operates the fan website HornetsHype. The Hornets organization usually does a very good job with giveaways and fun, regardless of the event, so Im sure that was a draw for people. It was nice to see a lot of families come out as well. It shows how far the team has come in the eye of New Orleans in the last six months that people didnt care whether the Hornets were picking or not and it also shows growing basketball interest in general.

The draft party was hosted by Hornets in-arena MC Brittany, as well as Hornets radio analyst Gerry Vaillancourt. Hugo the Hornet and members of the Honeybees dance team were also on hand to lend a game-night atmosphere to the event.

For me the best aspect of the party was meeting up with people I hadnt seen since the season ended, Tolcser said, alluding to fellow fans. And the Hornets throw a quality party the freebies are always excellent!

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