Jazzing It Up

Ohio State fans might have wanted him back for another season of basketball in Columbus, but Thursday night saw a lifelong dream come true for Kosta Koufos when the Utah Jazz made him the No. 23 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Kosta Koufos might have been singing the blues for a while Thursday night, but now he has switched his tune.

Now he is playing jazz music.

In the 2008 NBA Draft, Koufos ended what has been a long and sometimes bumpy ride to the pros when the Utah Jazz pulled his name at Madison Square Garden. The former Ohio State center was taken with the No. 23 pick overall.

Following a freshman season at OSU that saw him capture postseason NIT Tournament most valuable player honors, Koufos withdrew from spring classes in order to concentrate on preparing for the professional level. After weighing offers to play overseas, the product of Canton, Ohio, opted to stick to his dream of playing in the NBA.

That dream was realized on Thursday evening in front of a national television audience when NBA commissioner David Stern called his name.

As a freshman, Koufos finished as the Buckeyes' second-leading scorer with an average of 14.4 points per game. A skilled player in space, he played out of position for OSU head coach Thad Matta but still shot 34.9 percent (22 of 63) from beyond the three-point arc.

Koufos is the second consecutive OSU center to be selected in the first round. Last season, Greg Oden was chosen by Portland with the first overall pick but suffered a knee injury and missed his entire rookie season.

Viewed as a late first-round pick when he declared for the NBA in April, Koufos was being projected as a potential late lottery pick in the days leading up to the draft. That did not materialize, but he did not fall out of the first round entirely.

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