Perfect fit for Maxiell - Like UC, Pistons stress defense The Cincinnati Post Wednesday, June 29, 2005 By C. Trent Rosecrans Post staff reporter Jason Maxiell was as steady as ever. The former University of Cincinnati star was content with the promise made by Detroit Pistons president Joe Dumars that the Eastern Division champions would pick him if he was still around when they picked No. 26 in Tuesday night's NBA draft. Dumars asked Maxiell and his agent Richard Katz to keep those plans quiet. And if there's one thing the 6-foot-7, 250-pound Maxiell can do, it's keep quiet. He kept the Pistons' intentions so quiet that his mother Patricia was a self-described nervous wreck until the moment NBA commissioner David Stern announced Maxiell's name live on ESPN. "I found out the same time everyone else found out," Patricia Maxiell said. "I've been nervous for the last six weeks. Nervous may not even be the right word for it. I've been a nervous wreck. I've been snapping at everybody, nobody can do anything right. I've been a wreck." Then as her son held her hand and her father's hand, she listened and watched the TV to hear Maxiell's name called. Then a funny thing happened, like her son, she fell mute. "Something came over me and all I could do was cry," she said. "It was an aching cry. It was a sense of relief. I couldn't do anything but cry." Her son just hugged her. He didn't cry, he never has in these kind of situations, his mother said. "I was just sitting there waiting my time," Maxiell said. "I trusted their word." Maxiell is the first Bearcat to be selected in the first round since Kenyon Martin and DerMarr Johnson went No. 1 and No. 6 overall in the 2000 draft. Pete Mickeal was a second-round pick that same year, and Kenny Satterfield (2001) and Steve Logan (2002) were also second-round picks. Former Bearcat Robert Whaley was selected in the second round Tuesday night by Utah with the No. 51 overall selection. "The most critical thing becomes making sure that you get someone who will fit into your culture and environment," Dumars told the Detroit Free Press. "We feel that this guy, Jason Maxiell, has the same DNA as the rest of the Pistons. We think he'll fit in." Maxiell said he felt at ease with Dumars and the Pistons during his workout in Detroit, mainly because the 2004 champions are built around defense, just like the Bearcats. "Playing for Bob Huggins is the best thing out there, just like being for (Pistons) coach (Larry) Brown," Maxiell said. "Playing for them is like playing for Cincinnati. Defense is their game and defense is our game." Detroit's director of scouting, George David, told the Detroit Free Press that Maxiell was the toughest player in the draft, which was a major reason they took him. "They've been involved with Max for a long time," UC coach Bob Huggins said. "It's a great organization, great work ethic. He fits in terrific with what they do." Maxiell leaves UC as the program's 11th all-time leading scorer (1,566 points) and second on the school's career blocked shot list (252). While questions about his size dogged Maxiell, his work ethic and attitude coupled with his play in workouts and during the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament and the one day he spent at the Chicago predraft camp pushed him into the first round. "That's a sad state of affairs, because you ought to be able watch what he does every day (during his four-year college career)," Huggins said. "We've had NBA guys in every three, four days watching him. The guy's never changed. He works. He's a wonderful guy. He's a great teammate. He's going to be in the league for 10, 12 years." Because he was selected in the first round, Maxiell will get a guaranteed contract. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, first-round picks receive two-year guaranteed contracts. Second-round picks do not get guaranteed contracts. So for the second time in the last month, Patricia Maxiell was forced to tears at Fifth Third Arena. Earlier this month Jason Maxiell received his degree in psychology there, and Tuesday evening friends and family congregated in the fifth-floor UCats Club to watch the draft. "I'm so happy, this has been his dream since he was 5," Patricia Maxiell said. "It's been a great month; it's been a great life. I can't describe it in words." Her tears said enough.