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Mizzou's Brown taken by Clippers in first round of NBA Draft

Mizzou Arena

Former Missouri star Kobe Brown became the first former Tiger to be drafted into the NBA in five years on Thursday night when the Los Angeles Clippers took Brown with the 30th overall selection. After weeks of being projected as an early to mid-second round pick, Brown ended up being the final pick of the first round.

"I couldn't help but cry," said Brown on a Zoom call with reporters about 90 minutes after he was drafted. "It was a surreal moment."

Brown joins a Clippers team that finished fifth in the Western Conference and lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the playoffs in five games. They have a new general manager, Trent Redden, who got the job earlier this month and made the call to take Brown. The Clippers feature two of the NBA's most well-known stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, though Leonard missed the final three games of the season due to a torn meniscus in his right knee.

"I'm definitely going to learn a lot," said Brown of joining the two All-Stars. "It's gonna be fun. I'm definitely gonna learn a lot really quick so I'm excited to get down there and get to work."

Brown hopes he can help the Clippers compete by providing anything he can. He hasn't thought of a specific role to fill.

"Whatever they need, I just wanna win," Brown said. "Wherever they need me is where I want to be. I don't have a specific position as it is. I just want to be a winner."

Brown worked out for several NBA teams leading up to the Draft in addition to showcasing his skills for the entire league at the NBA Combine in Chicago in May. He felt he made a good impression on the Clippers at his private workout with the team.

"It was definitely one of my better workouts," he said. "I really enjoyed the people there and the front office all the way down to the interns."

"Those guys were really genuine, nice people. It's a well-run organization. I just had a lot of fun out there."

Brown brings an experience level to the NBA that many rookies don't have in the era of "one and done." He was a four year starter at Missouri and was named First Team All-SEC last season and Second team all-conference the year before. Brown is the first player from Mizzou to be selected in the NBA Draft since Michael Porter Jr. went 14th overall to the Denver Nuggets in 2018.

Brown joins teammate D'Moi Hodge in southern California, after Hodge signed a two-way contract with the Lakers.