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Christopher Heimerman: Alexander says the right thing
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Joe Alexander set a great example for student-athletes everywhere Thursday night.

The Bucks' first-round selection, the eighth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft, did his homework and knew exactly how to close his interview with ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith.

Like magic words to a beleaguered fan base:

"I can't wait to get there," the West Virginia standout said with unmistakable confidence in both his dark eyes and unwavering voice.

A year ago, Milwaukee's faithful was lost in translation as Yi Jianlian's "people" had been public over the Chinese phenom's utter reluctance to play in the Cream City.

Thursday, the wiry sixth overall pick last year at Madison Square Garden was getting his original wish. Jianlian punched his meal ticket to New Jersey's dynamic market, along with the eternally-expendable Bobby Simmons.

In exchange, the Bucks got a bona fide No. 3 in Richard Jefferson, a proven veteran who finally proved he was intact in playing all 82 games last season.

After missing at least 25 games in two of the previous three campaigns, Jefferson put the rickety label to rest with glaring numbers in '08 (22.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 36.2 3-pt%).

More importantly, the Bucks were clearing a role for the future face of their franchise in Alexander.

In Bob Huggins' first go-round and Alexander's junior year at West Virginia, the physical specimen leapt into lottery status with nearly 17 points per game to go along with 6.4 boards and nearly two blocks per contest.

He also average a cool 18 per in three NCAA Tournament victories and makes no mystery that he loves it when defenders challenge him to rise above.

A highlight-reel dunker with a velvety smooth mid-range jumper, Alexander brings a component the Bucks need - an edge. A "do you dare me?" attitude.

Andrew Bogut is trying, bless his Aussie heart. Guys like Charlie Villanueva and Mo Williams feign the visual of ruthless leaders.

But Alexander stomped on Duke's throat with 22 to get to the Sweet 16. He's had all the right answers on and off the floor.

Last year, a starving fan base was collectively hands-on-head, wondering what the enigmatic Yi would be. Thursday, Alexander told them what to expect. More wins. 'Nuff said.

As long as the Bucks aren't done, and are looking to acquire a true point guard (unfortunately, they just missed Mario Chalmers, who went at No. 34 with Milwaukee at 37) and either relegate Williams to bench duty or a seat on the next flight out of Milwaukee, Alexander just may have a shot to make good on his promise.

BONUS THROWS: Ambiguity found ambiguity as Serge Ibaka was selected by the nomadic Seattle Supersonics 24th overall. The youngest player selected likely won't play in the states for at least three years, although the Sonics don't even know where they would watch him play as of yet. ...It's been a rough 36 hours for ESPN. After the Worldwide Leader in Sports failed to broadcast two of the five goals in the Germany-Turkey Euro 2008 Soccer semifinals and having microphone failure during the first interview after the College World Series on Wednesday, a recognizable pair of tones crept into the first 12 picks of Thursday's draft. Within the melody that plays in leading up to league commissioner David Stern's announcement at the podium, ESPN viewers repeatedly heard that annoying sound most computers make when you try to make it take action it cannot perform. The erroneous sound was broadcast a dozen times before Bristol finally resolved the issue before the Blazers' 13th pick. Not surprisingly, there were two commercial breaks between the 12th and 13th picks. Somewhere, NBA theme song innovator John Tesh is miffed.

- Christopher Heimerman is the sports editor of The Monroe Times. He can be reached at