The wait was long Thursday night for Allen Crabbe at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Then it was longer still.
The former Cal star slid out of the first round of the NBA draft before being taken by Cleveland with the first pick of the second round, then traded to the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It was a long night, full of anxiety. I’m glad it’s over with,” Crabbe said on a teleconference with reporters. “It feels good to be going to the Trail Blazers. It’s a young team with a lot of talent.”
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard became the first Cal player drafted since Ryan Anderson went 21st to New Jersey in 2008. But he didn’t know for sure where he’s headed until about 8:45 p.m. — more than four hours after the draft began.
“I had to sit around for a while,” he said.
Projected as a late first-rounder, the Pac-12 Player of the Year was just the fourth player from the league taken, following UCLA’s Shabazz Muhammad, Arizona’s Solomon Hill and Colorado’s Andre Roberson, all chosen in the first round.
Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts admitted he knows little about Crabbe, but general manager Neil Olshey was pleased to get a player who averaged 18.4 points as a junior last season and can stretch the floor with 3-point shooting range.
“He’s a nice grab for us. We’re pretty excited about that,” Olshey said. “I think Allen Crabbe’s an elite shooter. Clearly, the way we play, we value shooting.”
At Portland, Crabbe will join a guard-driven team that returns Wesley Matthews as its starter at shooting guard. The Trail Blazers also took combo guard C.J. McCollum of Lehigh with the 10th pick of the first round.
The Blazers are led at point guard by Oakland native Damian Lillard, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year. “He’s going to be one of the elite point guards in the league one day,” Crabbe said of Lillard.
Crabbe said he had no contact with Portland leading up to draft day. “It’s funny how things can happen,” he said. “It’s definitely interesting to me.”
Still, the difference between being taken 30th with the final pick of the first round and going 31st can be significant. Typically, second-round draft picks are not given guaranteed contracts.
Crabbe said he’s not worried.
“All I can do is make the most of my opportunity,” he said. “I’ve got to go out there and put in the extra work and find myself a roster spot.”
“Allen Crabbe is going to be a player on our roster,” Olshey said.
Cal coach Mike Montgomery said Crabbe will do well in the NBA.
“The Portland Trail Blazers are getting a great player and even better person,” Montgomery said. “Allen will represent the Bears well in the NBA.”
Crabbe was joined at the draft by his parents, Allen Crabbe Sr., and Cheryl Price.
“They’re happy for me,” Crabbe said. “Their son is in the NBA.”