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I'm hoping a late first rounder would slip out of Prince, Chris Jeffries, Boozer or Gadzuric, but I'm not holding my breath. At 44 I wouldn't mind Matt Barnes, Darius Songaila, or taking a flier on the high schooler (name escapes me). The first 4 guys I think could contribute. Barnes and Songaila because I think they're versatile and seasoned enough to be much better than the "potential" taken around them a la Hanno Mottola and Eduardo Najera.

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Krause's 2nd-round picks are first rate
Kukoc, Hassell among nic finds by Bulls GM

Jerry Krause's nickname is "the Sleuth," despite occasional claims that he takes no pleasure in finding an undiscovered gem.

But once a scout, always a scout. And with the Bulls expected to take Jay Williams with the second pick in Wednesday's NBA draft or, at the very least, a top prospect such as Mike Dunleavy or Yao Ming if Houston gets cold feet on him, Krause must demonstrate his legwork in the second round.

The Bulls own two second-round picks, Nos. 31 and 44 overall. If history is any indication, Krause and his staff will use them wisely.

In 1990, the Bulls snared Toni Kukoc in the second round and the forward went on to become an important component in the second three-peat. Last year, the Bulls drafted Trenton Hassell out of Austin Peay, hardly a college powerhouse.

Hassell started 47 games and already is considered the team's best perimeter defender.

"Second-round picks are always valuable to me," Krause said.

Here are some players the Bulls are considering in the second round.

Mladen Sekularac, 6 feet 8 inches, shooting guard: Like many international players, the native of Yugoslavia has extensive experience in world tournaments. He averaged 16.9 points on 52 percent shooting for his Yugoslavian team last season.

Nenad Krstic, 6-11, power forward/center: At 18, he's young, raw and might not be released from his Yugoslavian team's contract for another year. But he is solid fundamentally and a good shot blocker.

Ryan Humphrey, 6-8, small forward: His play was somewhat erratic after he took a nasty fall that required stitches at the Chicago predraft camp. But the Notre Dame product worked out well for the Bulls and is an intelligent player with toughness.

Lonny Baxter, 6-8, power forward: His game isn't very flashy, but he has brute force inside and is an extremely hard worker. The Maryland product worked out privately for the Bulls.

Matt Barnes, 6-7, small forward: A fluid and athletic player at UCLA, Barnes impressed Bulls management with his maturity and demeanor during his private workout. He has improved his jump shot.

Local flavor: Besides Humphrey, there are several other players with local ties who are likely to be drafted Wednesday.

Former Thornton High star Melvin Ely has worked out well for several teams and is projected as high as a late lottery pick in some mock drafts and, at worst, a mid-first-round pick.

Ely, a rare four-year player at Fresno State, averaged 23.2 points, 11.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks last season. He called returning for his senior year the best decision he has made.

"Staying in college helped me to where I feel I'm ready to contribute right away," Ely said Tuesday in New York. "Your physical maturity is further along than an 18-year-old. College isn't the NBA, but it's better than some of the levels guys are coming from."

Unlike Ely, who would have been a second-round pick had he come out last year, guard Frank Williams hurt his draft standing by returning to Illinois. Williams has slipped out of the lottery but still is expected to be drafted in the first round.

Randy Holcomb, who played at Lincoln Park High School and Fresno State before finishing at San Diego State, has enough athleticism to warrant a second-round selection.

Francis innocent: A judge found Houston Rockets guard Steve Francis innocent of drunken driving, concluding there was reasonable doubt whether the player was legally intoxicated.
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