A year after landing center Andrew Bogut with the No. 1 overall pick, the Bucks threw a low-key draft party at team headquarters in St. Francis.
Though team officials were clearly thrilled to be able to select Noel, a 6-6, 230-pounder who played four seasons with one of the nation’s top collegiate programs, only a few dozen season ticket-holders felt compelled to show up for the festivities and a majority of them left after eating the Saz's catered dinner and watching the unveiling of the third logo in team history.
Although the structure of the primary logo is similar, the Bucks have replaced purple with a deep red. The forest green and silver colors remain, but the fonts have changed and a secondary logo adds a shadowing effect to the antlers.
"We’re kind of going back a little ways with some of the colors, but I think we’re moving forward," Bucks general manager Larry Harris said. "I’m excited about the opportunities with marketing and the merchandising that this logo is going to bring about."
Bucks players Michael Redd and Bobby Simmons helped Harris unveil the new design. "I love it," Redd said. "I’m a big fan of red, what can I say? It’s something new and fresh."
Simmons said he liked the purple scheme, but added that "red is a cool color, too."
The logo change, which was nearly two years in the making, will lead to new uniforms for next season. Those will be unveiled in September. Meanwhile, the Bucks will begin changing everything from the paint on the courts at the Bradley Center and Cousins Center, the pads under the basket, the swivel brooms used to wipe up sweat on those floors, business cards, letterheads, apparel...
"Every time you look, you see something else (that needs to change)," said John Steinmiller, the Bucks’ vice president of business operations said.
Roughly two hours after the logo was unveiled, when the media far outnumbered fans, the Bucks -- who tried unsuccessfully to move up in the draft -- used the 39th pick to take the proverbial "best athlete available."
That phrase gets bandied about in just about every draft, but this time it had special meaning. Noel, who was recruited more for football than basketball when coming out of high school, had the best scores on physical tests at the pre-draft camp in Orlando.
"This is what we were looking for in the draft," Bucks coach Terry Stotts said. "To improve our team, we were looking for an athletic wing player. There were a few of them in the draft. Larry (Harris) and his staff had looked for David early. He’s an athletic specimen, (a) smart player. (He has) been well-coached. Having a player like that is what we were looking for."
Noel was one of several players to work out for the Bucks before the draft, but Stotts called that "icing on the cake."
"When you look at the conference, you look at the school, you look at the coaching, I think all those things really play a part in a player’s ability to have success at the next level," Stotts said. "I like his toughness. I like his mentality. When you have the fundamental base that he has, with the athletic ability that he has, it increases his ability to be successful."
Both Stotts and Harris said that Noel compared favorably with former Bucks swingman Desmond Mason, in terms of athleticism and makeup.
"I wanted a basketball player. I wanted to get an athlete. I wanted to get a defensive type of mentality and I wanted someone that could immediately play in the league. I think when you get in the second round, you’re trying to find someone that can make your team and someone that has a chance to grow with your organization and be somebody that you can build with. We’ve had success in the second round and I think we’ve continued that tonight."
Before the night ended, the Bucks acquired the draft rights for Damir Markota from San Antonio in exchange for a conditional second-round pick in the 2007 draft. (Milwaukee picked up an extra pick when it sent Mike James and Zendon Hamilton to the Rockets for Reece Gaines).
Markota, a 20-year-old Croatian selected 59th overall by the Spurs, averaged 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds last season for Cibona Zagreb of the Adriatic League. He is 6-10 and will likely spend this season in Europe.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.