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BUCKS BEAT: Lithuanian big man opts for draft

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The Milwaukee Bucks received some potentially good news Friday.

Donatas Montiejunas of Lithuania has decided to test the NBA draft waters.

"He applied today,'' Herb Rudoy, Montiejunas' Chicago-based agent, told me. "I don't know where he'll go in the draft, but he'll be a lottery pick. I'm pretty sure of that.''

Most NBA officials would concur with Rudoy's assessment. The 7-foot, 220-pound Montiejunas is generally regarded as one of the best big men in the draft.

In a recent informal poll of several NBA GMs, player personnel directors and scouts by The Journal Times, Montiejunas was considered one of the top 10 prospects for the draft.

Barring an unlikely change in their draft position in the upcoming Draft Lottery, the Bucks will have the 10th overall selection in the June 23 draft.

Montiejunas, who is 20, has outstanding basketball skills: He is a high-percentage shooter and capable scorer from around the basket and on the perimeter.

The only real knocks on Montiejunas, according to some scouts, are his lack of strength and aggressiveness.

-- Another player who declared for the draft on Friday is Texas forward Tristan Thompson.

Thompson, a 6-8 forward, is coming off an excellent freshman season with the Longhorns, averaging 13.1 points and 7.8 rebounds. He shot 55 percent from the field.

Some NBA scouts believe the athletic Thompson could also be on the Bucks' radar as he is expected to be picked anywhere from 10 to 20.

Hobson may return to Bucks

Darington Hobson, whom the Bucks drafted in the second round last season before being released because of hip issues, may rejoin the team.

Stu Lash, Hobson's agent, said his client will seriously consider re-signing with the Bucks this summer, depending on a lockout.

"We have no malice or animosity toward the Bucks,'' Lash said. "They have been very good to Darington. And Daring likes it there.

"We got to do our due diligence and find out if it's the right fit for the Bucks and for us.''

Hobson has had surgeries on both of his hips, the second coming about two months ago. He recently got off his crutches and appears on track to be ready for training camp in the fall, again depending on a lockout.

Before experiencing his hip problems, Hobson stood a good chance of making the Bucks' roster and was projected to be a backup at both guard positions.

Butch on the mend

Former University of Wisconsin star Brian Butch has a doctor's appointment Tuesday to see if he'll be cleared to resume playing basketball.

Butch looked like he was going to take a major step forward in his pro career at the Las Vegas Summer League last July.

Butch, who was on the Denver Nuggets' summer league roster, looked sharp in his first game before rupturing his patellar tendon.

Butch has been rehabbing in Denver but intends to return to Wisconsin in the near future and may play in a Milwaukee summer league.

The right move

Ex-Marquette star Jimmy Butler opted to play in the recent Portsmouth Invitational Tournament at Portsmouth, Va., and it paid off in a big way.

The 6-6 Butler was chosen the PIT MVP and is now likely to be chosen in the second round of the June draft.

Top shelf competition

With the Las Vegas Summer League expected to be put on ice because of a possible lockout, many NBA players are looking for places to keep their skills sharp during the offseason.

Bucks forward Jon Brockman doesn't have to worry about that.

Brockman will be spending his summer in Seattle at his alma mater, the University of Washington. Brockman said he expects a slew of NBA players to be there as well, including Spencer Hawes, Nate Robinson, Brandon Roy, Jason Terry, Aaron Brooks, Jamal Crawford and Quincy Pondexter.


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