Thursday, June 23, 2011

Will Manatee County ever see another Clifford Rozier

It’s been 17 years since Clifford Rozier became the first and only Manatee County player selected in the first round of the NBA draft.

The former Southeast great was chosen16th overall by Golden State in 1994 after finishing up his All-American career at Louisville.

Rozier played four seasons in the NBA prematurely ending his career in 1998. His rookie season was his best, averaging 6.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

The 6-11 forward/center, who turns 39 in October, was named Florida’s Mr. Basketball in 1990 when he averaged 35 points and 16 points for Southeast.

Thursday night's draft ended with hoops fans around here wondering if Manatee County will ever see another first or second round NBA pick?

We all know this is football country, but still that’s a long time since Rozier’s name was called in the draft. The closet we’ve had to anyone since then getting drafted were both from Sarasota County.

Riverview High’s Altron Jackson, who is the number two career scorer at the University of South Florida, figured to be selected after his junior season with Bulls. He decided to stay in school for another year and his numbers went down and he was not selected.

Justin Hamilton, a standout point guard for four years at Florida, was another player who seemed on the cusp of getting drafted, but the Booker High product never had his name called.

Both went to Europe. Jackson had a solid career overseas reaching all star potential while Hamilton is still playing.

Hamilton, who finished up at Florida in 2003, played briefly in the NBDL. The 30-year-old guard has played six seasons in Europe winning the Spanish National Championship with Real Madrid in 2005 and has won three Belgian National Championships in the last four years.

The 31-year-old Jackson finished his career at USF in 2002 with 2,017 points averaging 16.5 points per game. He is Conference USA’s third ranked career scoring leader and was number one when he finished his college career.

Lincoln High’s Waite Bellamy was the 33d pick in the 1963 NBA draft after averaging 27.9 points per game at Florida A&M. He had a standout pro career in the Eastern Basketball League where he won three scoring titles.


  1. Alex Owens (6’6-2015-Bradenton) – Can dominate a game in the paint and is probably the most unknown of the top 2015 prospects. Owens has great hands and feet for a young big man and a huge upside. He can alter shots in the paint and swallows up missed shots on the defensive glass. At the offensive end, Owens can catch and finish and even showed the ability to score with both hands.

  2. It will be half of a century before manatee county sees another ROZIER!!