Former Kentucky guard Jodie Meeks expects to begin his pro career within days of being taken by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of Thursday's NBA Draft.
Meeks, chosen with the 41st overall pick, plans to travel to Milwaukee on Sunday to participate in the Bucks' rookie camp next week.
The week after that, Meeks expects to play for the Bucks' entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, which gives rookies and free agents a taste of NBA play.
Though Meeks does not automatically receive the guaranteed money of a first-round draft choice, he has landed with a team that recognizes the value of a second-round pick.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, the Bucks' second-round choice out of UCLA last season, played in all 82 games and started 52 as a rookie after being selected 37th overall. Two years ago, the Bucks picked point guard Ramon Sessions 56th overall. All-Star shooting guard Michael Redd was a second-round pick in the 2000 draft, the 43rd overall choice.
"(Meeks) was a guy we had on our board for the last few days, and up until even (Wednesday) night, and we said, 'No way this kid makes it to the second round,'" Bucks General Manager John Hammond told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"We just felt he's one of the top-notch shooters in this draft. Our guys who were out scouting all year said he may be one of the better defenders, too. He has great strength and is a great athlete, but one thing he can do is shoot the ball the way he can."
Meeks led UK and the Southeastern Conference in scoring last season. His scoring average of 23.7 ranked among the nation's top five and marked Kentucky's best since Dan Issel in 1969-70.
"I don't think I get enough credit for my athletic ability," Meeks said.
Meeks' prolific scoring included a school-record 54 points at Tennessee. That broke Issel's 39-year-old school record and marked the most by any player in Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena.
There was considerable speculation about whether Meeks would stay in the draft or go back to Kentucky for his senior year, but he opted to take his opportunity now to begin an NBA career.
Bucks Coach Scott Skiles said Meeks could provide some offensive firepower.
"He arguably was the best shooter in college basketball last year," Skiles said. "He's a guy who has some toughness, a nice strong body and is a really good defender.
"If you've got guys on the perimeter that can knock down shots and then they're not a liability on the other end, those are good assets to have."
Meeks said he was excited to be joining the Bucks.
"I know Michael Redd is a great shooter, and I'm just going to come in and be like a sponge," he said. "I'm going to try to absorb a lot of things and learn as much as I can."
The Bucks saw Meeks at the draft combine in Chicago, and he said he knew the team was interested in him then.
"I wasn't sure where I would go," Meeks said. "I'm happy to be in Milwaukee.
"My ability to shoot the three is definitely a strength. I'm looking forward to learning the offense."