BYU basketball standout Travis Hansen ended up being selected in Thursday's NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, one of several teams that showed extended and repeated interest in the Cougar guard.
However, the selection came in the second round — at No. 37, eight selections out of the first round. That means the 25-year-old Orem native will miss out on all the first-round trappings of guaranteed, multiyear contracts and commitments from an NBA franchise.
But Hansen's not worried.
"I'm very, very excited," he said Thursday night, having watched the draft on TV at his father's home. "Sure, everyone wants to be in the first round. But that's how the draft goes . . . then you still have to go out on the court and prove yourself."
He still anticipates signing a guaranteed contract for at least a season or two with Atlanta before reporting for the Hawks' summer practices July 9.
"That suits me better, instead of being stuck with a team for four years," he said, mindful of first-rounder's contracts.
The Hawks brought in Hansen twice for pre-draft workouts, the latest being a Wednesday session. Some projected the Hawks taking Hansen as their first-round pick at No. 21; they instead selected forward Boris Diaw-Riffoid of France.
With its second first-round pick at No. 21, Detroit was another team frequently mentioned as having interest in the 6-foot-6 shooting guard. However, the Pistons opted to go for one of the dozen international players selected before Hansen — Argentina guard Carlos Delfino.
Hansen expects to play on the Hawks' summer-league team in Boston. And he looks forward to a franchise where roster spots are available, playing time is possible, and teammates include the likes of Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Jason Terry and Nazr Mohammed.
"It's a great situation for me," he said.
Hansen is the first BYU player taken in the NBA Draft since Philadelphia selected Shawn Bradley as the No. 2 pick in the 1993 draft. He's the first Cougar coached by Steve Cleveland to be drafted.
Averaging 16.8 points a game his senior season, Hansen was a unanimous All-Mountain West Conference first-team selection and was named co-defensive player of the year along with fellow draftee Marcus Banks (a first-round selection of Memphis whose rights were later traded to Boston).
Hansen and Banks were the only Mountain West Conference players selected in Thursday's draft.
University of Utah's Britton Johnsen and Weber State's Jermaine Boyette — both second-round possibilities — went undrafted and are expected to receive free-agent invitations by several NBA teams.