2 returned missionaries selected in NBA draft

For the first time ever, two returned missionaries were selected in this year's National Basketball Association draft. Shawn Bradley of BYU was drafted No. 2 overall in the first round, the highest any LDS basketball player has ever gone in the draft. Josh Grant of the University of Utah was drafted in the second round (43rd overall). They were among the 54 players selected in the NBA draft June 30.

Bradley, who returned June 2 from the Australia Sydney Mission, was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers. Grant was drafted by the Denver Nuggets. After he was chosen it was learned that the Nuggets had secretly traded away that pick to the Golden State Warriors earlier on draft day in exchange for the 34th pick and a second-round selection next year, meaning that Grant is really a member of the Warriors.Before his mission, the 7-foot-6 Bradley played the 1990-91 season at BYU. As a Cougar, he averaged 14.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and had an NCAA freshman record of 177 blocked shots.

During his mission, Bradley added about 40 pounds to his lanky frame and now weighs 240 pounds. That fact was not lost on NBA scouts, who previously had expressed concern about his being able to withstand the rigors and pounding of more than 80 games a season.

After being selected second amidst the hoopla and glare of television cameras at The Palace arena in Auburn Hills, Mich., Bradley hugged family members, then donned a 76ers cap and was greeted by NBA Commissioner David Stern.

In a national television interview immediately following, Bradley was asked about the two years he spent in Australia.

"I wouldn't trade my missionary experience for anything in the world," he responded. "I'll never regret it."

Grant, a 6-foot-10 forward, collected 2,000 points and 1,066 rebounds in four seasons at Utah. As a junior and senior, sitting out a year in between due to a knee injury, he was named Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and led his team to two conference championships and two NCAA tournament appearances.

He served in the England London Mission from 1986-88.

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