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Kings call on Burns Cassell goes in Round 1


At about 10:45 last night, an obviously excited Evers Burns answered the phone at his Woodlawn home, then seconds later put the caller on hold.

"Can you hold on a second?" Burns said anxiously, clicking over to the other line for a moment. He was apologetic when he returned to the original caller.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Burns said. "I still haven't heard from Sacramento."

But the Sacramento Kings obviously had heard about and seen enough of Burns. They selected the 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward with their second-round pick -- the 30th overall -- in last night's NBA draft in Auburn Hills, Mich.

It has a happy moment for Burns, who, at the end of his career at Maryland, appeared unlikely to be drafted. Now, should he make a team in dire need of a physical player, he'll be playing with former Maryland teammate Walt Williams and former Atlantic Coast Conference foe Bobby Hurley (seventh pick in first round).

"I was very nervous," said Burns, who, with a small group gathered at his family's home, waited 3 hours and 15 minutes to hear his name called. "But I was very confident in the Lord, and it worked out. I'm just so happy, I don't know what to do," added Burns, who later went to his family's church to give thanks.

Burns was the second Baltimore-area player selected in last night's draft. The first, former Dunbar star Sam Cassell, was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 24th pick of the first round -- the first Baltimore player to go in the top round since former Dunbar stars Reggie Lewis, Reggie Williams and Muggsy Bogues were selected in 1987.

In his senior year at Florida State, Cassell averaged 18.3 points and scored 30 or more points four times in helping the Seminoles to the final eight in the NCAA tournament. As a sophomore at San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College, Cassell had been a first-team All-America pick.

Apparently, Cassell didn't seem to care too much about the draft, opting to attend a movie, according to a family member reached at his home last night. But Burns was glued to the draft telecast, hoping to be picked in the first round, but happy anyway.

"I'm just really glad I was selected," he said.

And even happier to be teamed again with Williams, whom Burns played with for three years at Maryland. Williams was a first-round pick for Sacramento last year.

"I just can't wait," Burns said. "I'm looking forward to once again being out there with my former teammate."

A starter for his last two years in college, Burns' statistics improved during each season as a Terrapin. Burns became a starter in his junior year when he averaged 15.9 points and 7.1 rebounds.

Burns had his finest year as a senior, when he averaged 18.5 points (sixth in the ACC) and 8.8 rebounds. He shot 50.6 percent, recorded 13 double-doubles (points and rebounds) and scored 36 against Georgia Tech -- the top individual scoring performance in the ACC last season.

He finished his career ranked 13th on Maryland's all-time scoring list (1,315 points).

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