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A Mile High: Hodge taken by Denver in first round

Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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Pack star is 20th pick in NBA Draft.

As he had done so many times during his brilliant career at NC State, Julius Hodge was wearing that mega-watt smile for which he is now so famous. His mother was crying tears of joy. The scene was Madison Square Garden in New York, a place where Hodge dreamed of playing throughout his childhood in New York. It was indeed a moment worthy of a big celebration Tuesday night when Hodge became the 20th pick of the 2005 NBA Draft, selected by the Denver Nuggets.

On hand for the special night was Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek, who brought Hodge to NC State four years ago.

"As far as my top three teams where that I thought I would finally end up, Denver was one of them," Hodge said. "My brother has been saying `Denver, Denver' all week, but I'd say I could be gone before then. Sitting out there for about two-and-a-half hours, it seemed like a decade. But as guys dropped, I thought Denver would be more likely. I think it's a perfect fit."

Known as Mr. Versatility at NC State, Hodge led the Pack in scoring (17.0), rebounding (6.6) and assists (162) during his senior year. As a junior in 2004, he was the ACC Player of the Year for a team that finished in 2nd place during the ACC regular season.

Overall, Hodge finished his career as NC State's third all-time leading scorer, trailing only Rodney Monroe and David Thompson.

Hodge becomes the first Wolfpack player to be taken in the draft since Todd Fuller was selected No. 11 by Golden State in 1996.

"I'll try and put it into words right now: the way I've been committed, the way my brother stood by me through the whole process, the way from when I was a young pup he groomed me into a young man now, both on and off the court," said Hodge. "All the hard work, and defying all my critics, continuing to be emotional and fiery on the court, having a great work ethic . . . . If those words can't describe my feeling right now, I don't know which ones can."

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A Mile High: Hodge taken by Denver in first round
Julius Hodge finished his career as NC State's third all-time leading scorer.
photo by Gene Galin

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