Thunder Draft Party Blog

WE'RE BACK ON THE CLOCK!
8:49 p.m.

ESPN just cut away, and in the world of perfect cues, it was James Harden who did the promo, telling fans to stay tuned as the Oklahoma City Thunder will select 25th. The Thunder earlier in the night selected Harden with the third overall pick.

The theatre still has some activity, though fans have taken a seat or a spot on the rail, waiting for coverage to resume. Tick tock, tick tock ...

Say hello to Rod ... well, wait. We'll await word from our basketball operations staff for the official word.


FREE T-SHIRTS!
8:01 p.m.

I mentioned earlier how the building had a game-night feel. (Having 1,500 fans, Rumble, Thunder Girls, the Drum Team and upbeat music certainly helps.)Well, Events and Entertainment Director John Leach and his team just took that feeling up a big notch with the in-game T-shirt toss that is so popular with fans. Almost on cue, the moment the Black Eyed Peas' song "Louder" hit the speakers, fans rushed to the lower level to snap the free T-shirts being chucked by Rumble, the Thunder Girls and the Drum Team.

Is that the buzzer, signaling the end of a time-out? Oh, no. It's David Stern walking back to the lecturn.


... AND WE'RE BACK
7:41 p.m.

Apologies for the delay between posts. I received four photo cards immediately after the Thunder selected James Harden, and have spent the past 40 or so minutes building a photo gallery from tonight's event. Check it out here.

The room has seen a decline in attendance in the past 20 minutes, but it doesn't take a CSI to figure out why: The Thunder does not make its second pick (25th overall) til roughly 8:30 p.m. ... and we're at a CASINO. Hmmmm.
'WITH THE THIRD PICK, THE THUNDER SELECT ...'
6:48 p.m.
You can feel the anticipation in the room building by the second. People have stopped what they were doing and all attention is now on the big screens, waiting for Commissioner David Stern to step to the lecturn.

ESPN is showing Ricky Rubio right now, and ESPN analysts are raving about the Thunder, its future and the job General Manager Sam Presti and his basketball operations staff has done in getting the team to this position.

"The pick is in," though I can't hear. The applause is too loud.

When James Harden is announced, the crowd erupts in approval and banners fall from the ceiling. This is a cool moment. If you're a Thunder fan, and you're not here, you're missing a very cool moment.


NICE APPLAUSE FOR GRIFFIN
6:35 p.m.

It's a Thunder Draft Party, but it's in Oklahoma and that means a nice round of applause for Oklahoma center Blake Griffin. The ESPN cameras just showed the Oklahoma Christian High School product and the Showroom Theatre crowd offered a pleasant round of applause.

NBA Commissioner David Stern just made the announcement: "With the first pick in the NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select Blake Griffin." That brought a more rowdy round of applause.

We're on the clock! The Memphis Grizzlies just selected Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet.




Rumble the Bison is in the house!

Rumble barely made it through the doors before fans immediately whipped out cell phones and digital cameras for photo ops with the NBA's newest -- and best -- mascot.

"I just love Rumble" is a common phrase.

Entering the stage now is the Thunder Drum Team. This night is taking on the feel of a game night. Popcorn, anyone?


RUMBLE IN THE HOUSE!
6:20 p.m.

The feeling of anticipation is beginning to build, and now the party just went up a big notch.

Rumble the Bison is in the house!

Rumble barely made it through the doors before fans immediately whipped out cell phones and digital cameras for photo ops with the NBA's newest -- and best -- mascot.

"I just love Rumble" is a common phrase.
Entering the stage now is the Thunder Drum Team. This night is taking on the feel of a game night. Popcorn, anyone?


DOORS ARE OPEN!
5:55 p.m.

Fans continue to file through the Showroom Theatre doors at Riverwind Casino, site of the Thunder Draft Party.

Thunder broadcasters Brian Davis and Matt Pinto just set the stage for what fans can expect tonight with a nice on-stage exchange that ended with an exclusive look at the Thunder Draft Room and a interview with General Manager Sam Presti.

The Thunder court is proving a popular destination for fans in attendance, especially our young fans. So, too, are the areas with food and beverages.

The excitement is starting to build. The three large TV screens just switched to ESPN's live coverage of the draft.


THE STAGE IS SET
5:20 p.m.

Just walked into the Showplace Theatre at Riverwind Casino and was blown away by the set-up. It is clear the Thunder Events & Entertainment staff has put a lot of work into making sure the room is set with fans in mind.

Three huge television screens are at the end of the room, each showing ESPN and its coverage leading up to the draft. There are two NBA banners, and giant posters on each side of the room featuing a Thunder team huddle picture seconds before tip-off as well as the Thunder Draft Party message.

Thunder TV (KSBI) is here to broadcast live from the event, and the Thunder front office staff is in place, eager to welcome fans.

There will be no shortage of activities for fans who enter the Showroom doors. A Thunder basketball court is set up to the right of the stage, complete with a basket. If you watched Kevin Durant win the H-O-R-S-E event at All-Star Weekend, the court here in Norman has the same look and feel. There also is a photo booth, where fans will have the opportunity to get their pictures taken with the Thunder Girls and Rumble the Bison.

Make sure to check back often. The doors are about to open, and the scene about to pick up.