Celtics Draft Pick Luke Harangody Out to Prove Skeptics Wrong

Celtics Draft Pick Luke Harangody Out to Prove Skeptics Wrong While the biggest stars in Thursday night's NBA draft were in the green room backstage at Madison Square Garden, waiting for their names to be called within the opening minutes of the evening's festivities, Luke Harangody was out in the audience, seated among the masses.

While John Wall, Evan Turner and Derrick Favors were met with ovations, handshakes from commissioner David Stern and countless media requests on Thursday night, Harangody had little to do but wait.

And wait, and wait, and wait.

It wasn't until 11:32 p.m. Thursday, four hours after the Washington Wizards had kicked off the night by selecting Wall, that Harangody finally heard his name called. He went to the Celtics at No. 52, later than he hoped and probably far later than he deserved.

Harangody, now a graduate of Notre Dame, is a former All-American and Big East Player of the Year. Over his four years he scored 1,329 points in Big East play, third-most all-time, and pulled down 662 rebounds, putting him No. 2 on the all-time list. He's the only player in league history to average 20 points and 10 rebounds in conference play.

Yet, Harangody was forced to watch for hours as players whom he had outplayed in college were drafted ahead of him into the pros. Syracuse's Wesley Johnson went No. 4 to the Timberwolves. Greg Monroe from Georgetown was gone at No. 7, headed to the Pistons. Lazar Hayward from Marquette rounded out the first round, going 30th to the Wizards.

What took Harangody, a better collegiate basketball player than all of the above, so long to hear his name called?

For starters, there were questions about his body. Harangody plays the power forward position, but his pre-draft measurements list him at 6-foot-6 without shoes. He weighs somewhere between 240 and 250 pounds, and not all of it's muscle.

He never was the most athletic guy on the floor. What he lacks in quickness and agility, he has to make up with basketball IQ.

No, Harangody isn't blessed with supernatural athletic ability, and he never has been. Because of that, he's had to work like a dog for everything he's earned in his basketball-playing life. It took a whole lot of hard work, perseverance and flat-out hustle to reach where he is today.

Harangody worked out with 11 different teams in the weeks leading up to Thursday night's NBA draft. The Celtics weren't one of them. Everyone from Washington to Milwaukee to Golden State had a chance to kick the tires, and eventually all passed during the draft.

But it was through sheer work ethic that Harangody kept getting his name out there, kept letting the basketball world see what he could do. And now he's got a job.

The Celtics  need Harangody to step in and give them some minutes right away. Rasheed Wallace has retired, and Kendrick Perkins is nursing multiple torn ligaments in his knee. The C's are in need of quality big men that can pitch in. Harangody's their guy.

Undersized bigs with high energy have thrived in Boston before. Just ask Glen Davis, or former Celtic Leon Powe. Both were second-round picks taken by Danny Ainge.

Harangody's the next one in the Celtic lineage. And the C's should hope that, come this fall, the kid comes out and plays with a little chip on his shoulder.

No one wanted to take a chance on Luke Harangody. Rather than make a potentially risky pick, countless NBA teams passed him up and watched him fall.

Next season, Harangody will have a chance to make them all sorry they did.

Picked For You