It was around this time 24 years ago when Hornets coach Byron Scott had just finished his junior season at Arizona State.
Scott was exhausted, having averaged 36.5 minutes and 21.6 points per game that season for the Sun Devils. Mulling over his early entry into the upcoming NBA draft, Scott decided to take a day off and not play in any pickup games.
One of his ASU coaches approached Scott and suggested he reconsider his day of rest.
“My coach told me, ‘Well, I didn’t want to tell you this but Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and Bill Sharman are going to be sitting in the stands. They want to make a trade and get up to where the (San Diego) Clippers are in the draft. They want to see you play,’ ” Scott said.
Scott went up against guard Dennis Johnson and several other members of the Phoenix Suns. “And I played my ass off,” Scott said. “D.J. guarded me and I guarded him. D.J. helped me a lot (with advice).”
Scott wound up being the No. 4 overall pick in the 1983 draft, selected by the Clippers and traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he would win three world championships and play in six NBA finals.
- John Rohde