OKLAHOMA CITY, June 25, 2009 – The Oklahoma City Thunder selected Arizona State guard James Harden with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft held this evening at the WAMU Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. In addition, the Thunder acquired the draft rights to B.J. Mullens (24th overall selection) from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Rodrigue Beaubois (25th overall selection) and a future second round pick.
Harden, an AP First-Team All American and Pac-10 Player of the Year comes to Oklahoma City after averaging 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists during his sophomore season at Arizona State. The 6-5, 220-pound Los Angeles Native led the conference in scoring (20.1 ppg) and steals (1.69 spg) on his way to becoming the third sophomore in league history to earn Pac-10 Player of the Year honors, joining Jason Kidd and Mike Bibby.
“We are pleased to add James Harden, B.J. Mullens and Robert Vaden to our roster,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “We believe all of them have the opportunity to grow with us and advance the identity of Thunder basketball. “
A two-time First-Team All-Pac 10 selection, Harden scored 20+ points in 34 of his 69 collegiate contests, including a 40-point effort versus UTEP this past season. His 40-point performance versus the Miners, represents the fifth highest single-game scoring output in school history.
During his two seasons at ASU, the Sun Devils recorded back-to-back 20-win season for the first time since 1979-80 and 1980-81. This past year, ASU posted a 25-10 mark and the 25 victories represent the most wins in school history since the 1974-75 season.
With the second of the Thunder’s two 2009 first round picks, Oklahoma City moved up one spot in the draft and acquired the draft rights to B.J. Mullens, a 7-0, 275-pound center from Ohio State University.
Mullens, the 2009 Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, averaged 8.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game in his lone season with the Buckeyes. In 33 games, Mullens set an Ohio State freshman record in field goal percentage (.638). Mullens led the conference in shooting (.703) as he converted 78-of-111 field goal attempts in Big Ten Play.
Mullens averaged 27.4 points and 15.1 rebounds during his senior season at Canal Winchester High School en route to earning Gatorade and RISE Magazine’s Ohio Player of the Year Awards. The McDonalds and EA Sports All-American set a high school scoring record with 62 points in a victory over Our Savior New American High School (NY).
Additionally, the Thunder acquired the draft rights to Robert Vaden (54th selection) from the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for cash considerations. The 6-5, 205-pound University of Alabama-Birmingham senior, posted averages of 17.6 points 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game during his senior year. He became the fastest player in UAB history to reach the 1,000-point scoring plateau as he accomplished the feat in 50 games.