June 28, 2000
NORMAN, Okla. - Eduardo Najera, a first-team All-Big 12 Conference selection and a third-team Associated Press All-American last season for the University of Oklahoma men's basketball team, was selected by the Houston Rockets with the ninth pick of the second round (38th overall) of the NBA Draft Wednesday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Najera's draft rights and a future second-round selection were then traded to the Dallas Mavericks for the draft rights of former Vanderbilt player Dan Langhi, the second pick in the second round.
"This could not have worked out any better for me," said an ecstatic Najera following the trade. "I felt all along that I belonged in a Mavericks uniform and I couldn't be happier. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Dallas is the best place for me and that's where I wanted to go all along."
Najera, who became the fourth Sooner under head coach Kelvin Sampson and just the second Mexican-born player to be drafted into the NBA, finished his OU career ranked third in minutes played (3,853), fourth in steals (193), fifth in rebounds (910), sixth in blocked shots (89), eighth in points scored (1,646) and 10th in free throws (337).
The Chihuahua, Mexico, native averaged 18.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.7 steals for the 27-7 OU team last season. Najera racked up 14 double-doubles to rank second in the Big 12 and also led the conference in rebounding with his 10.3 boards per league contest. A member of the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, he was named MVP of the Top of the World Classic and All-College Tournaments and was named to the Sooner Holiday Classic and Big 12 Tournament all-tournament squads.
Najera's season culminated with the reception of the Chip Hilton Player of the Year award for achievement both on and off the court. The award was presented by the National Basketball Hall of Fame and Chip Hilton Sports.
Other former Sooners drafted into the NBA after playing for Sampson include Ryan Minor by Philadelphia in 1996 (32nd overall), Nate Erdmann by Utah in 1997 (57th overall) and Corey Brewer by Miami in 1998 (51st overall).