Shan Foster drafted

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Posted: June 26, 2008

The temptations were out there for the Mavericks to make a move or move their pick, but with Shan Foster still available when their turn came up in the second round, the decision was made to hold steady.

“It was a very long wait,” Rick Carlisle said after making his first draft selection as Mavs coach. “We’re very happy with the guy we got. We had a list of ‘A’ candidates, ‘Bs’ and ‘Cs’ and Shan Foster was the last ‘A’ on our list.”

Carlisle was referring to the list of players the Mavs thought might fall to the 51st pick in Thursday’s 2008 NBA Draft. The 6-6 swingman out of Vanderbilt was the SEC Player of the Year as a senior, averaging 20.3 points while shooting 52 percent. The Mavs were sold on his combination of 3-point range, maturity and athleticism.

“We are really excited about Shan Foster,” president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said.

Foster is excited about joining a perennial playoff team with playing time available. The 21-year-old is headed to Dallas despite not working out for the Mavs in the weeks leading up to the Draft.

“They definitely have a great team, great defensively and a superstar in Dirk Nowitzki,” Foster said. “Brandon Bass is one of my good friends.”

Foster has lived most of his life in suburban New Orleans and has known Bass, who is from Baton Rouge, since their high school years. Foster played center before reaching Vanderbilt, which explains an unorthodox over-the-head release born out of shooting over taller defenders.

The front office believes Foster can crack the lineup and contribute next season. Carlisle alluded to the opportunities available because of free agency and Nelson talked about the desire to surround Jason Kidd with shooters.

“He could earn some time because you’re always looking for shooting,” Nelson said. “That’s usually something that transfers from college.”

Foster is Vanderbilt’s all-time leader in points (2,011) and 3-pointers (367), and earned second team All-American honors. He knocked down 46.9 percent from beyond the arc last season. The Mavs have a definite need for perimeter shooting with Jason Terry as the only long-range bomber in the backcourt.

Foster could play behind both Terry and small forward Josh Howard. Jerry Stackhouse is also slated to return and Eddie Jones had a player option to come back. The Mavs also plan to bring two swingmen picked in the last year’s second round – Renaldas Seibutis and Reyshawn Terry – to summer league and training camp.

The evening opened with Chicago taking point guard Derrick Rose of Memphis with the No. 1 pick. Rose was one of a record number 10 freshmen taken in the first round. Miami selected Kansas State freshman forward Michael Beasley with the second choice.

The Mavs looked seriously into dealing into late first round and early second, according to Nelson, but “didn’t feel the price was right.” Nelson said teams were asking for “crazy” money just to buy second-round picks. Carlisle admitted the team would have probably dealt its pick if Foster wasn’t available.

Once the Draft ended, the Mavs were on the phone with rookie free agents. The team has had success in the past with those players overlooked through 60 picks. The following free agents have been invited to join Seibutis, Terry and Foster on the next month’s summer league team: Keith McLeod, Aaron Miles, Derrick Low, Reggie Williams, Richie Frahm, JaJuan Smith, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Yaroslav Korolev, Charles Rhodes, James Singleton and Pape Sow.

Though freshmen ruled throughout the Draft, four-year players shouldn’t be discounted, Carlisle said. He hit with Tayshaun Prince late in the first round while coaching Detroit and the Mavs picked Howard, ACC Player of the Year, with the 29th choice in 2003. Foster is expected in Dallas in the next few days.

“It feels great,” Foster said. “This is a long-awaited opportunity I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid.”