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Allen Crabbe eager to capitalize on NBA opportunity

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 range.

“He's a nice grab for us. We're pretty excited about that,” Olshey said. “I think Allen Crabbe's an elite shooter.”

At Portland, Crabbe will join a guard-driven team that returns Wesley Matthews as its starter at shooting guard. The 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.”

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