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In 1999, the late Jerry Krause gave N.D. native Swenson a chance

In the summer and fall of 1999, Jerry Krause, the embattled general manager of the Chicago Bulls during the team's dynasty throughout the '90s, was trying to rebuild his team back into a winner after the second retirement of Michael Jordan and th...

3239113+98dougswensonaction2.jpg
Doug Swenson at Creighton in 1998. (Submitted by the Creighton University Athletic Department)

In the summer and fall of 1999, Jerry Krause, the embattled general manager of the Chicago Bulls during the team's dynasty throughout the '90s, was trying to rebuild his team back into a winner after the second retirement of Michael Jordan and the departure of Scottie Pippen. He selected both Elton Brand and Ron Artest in the first round of that summer's NBA draft and, a few months later, signed another rookie - undrafted Doug Swenson out of Creighton, a native of Halliday, N.D., who still lives and ranches in his hometown. Swenson, who spent two years at Bismarck State College before moving onto Creighton, lasted only 20 or so days with the Bulls, traveling to and from preseason games on the team's first class plane, before being waived. Though he injured himself early on in training camp, and never saw action in a preseason game, he had the best seat in the house, Swenson joked, and it was all thanks to Krause, who died Tuesday at the age of 77. The two first met earlier in 1999, when Krause, known then as "The Sleuth" because of his secretive, almost paranoid scouting methods, was taking a hard look at Swenson's teammate, future NBAer Rodney Buford. Thanks to Creighton's run to the second round of the NCAA tournament - beating Louisville and then losing to future NBA all-star Steve Francis and Maryland - and an assist from his agent, Swenson, now 39, was invited to a pre-draft workout held by the Bulls. "He brought four or five or six guys at a time, put you through all the measurements and the one-on-one interviews," Swenson recalled. "That's probably what gave me my chance more than anything, I think I was a pretty good interview. The trivia stuff - I told him I liked trivia - and I remember he said, 'Oh you're a trivia buff, here's one for you: Who's the only player to win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship and an ABA championship?' "I didn't know that. He got me. I still remember the answer, it was Tom Thacker. I knew I'd never forget the name. He went to Cincinnati, got an NBA ring with the Celtics, I can't remember who he won an ABA championship with." Swenson wasn't selected in that year's draft and, after being brought back for Chicago's summer league season, landed in training camp with Krause and the Bulls. When Krause sat down with him to sign the contract, Swenson said, Krause told him it was the same pen he used to ink one of Michael Jordan's contracts. Swenson never found out if he was joking.
As the training camp roster shrank from its starting size of 20 players, Swenson initially found himself still in the mix. He was one of the 15 remaining players, and wasn't cut until late October, a few days before the start of the season. But Krause's offer, short-lived as it was, gave him a chance to peek into a secret world he had been fascinated with as a kid. "You always wish you could be a fly on the wall, and I was a fly on the wall. True as it could be, I couldn't hardly believe it," Swenson said. "I got waived at the end of October, it would have been in the later 20s. But that's one of my things - my transaction. I was signed and I was waived. They can't take my transactions away from me. I was on the ticker going across the bottom and in the paper. As a kid growing up, I read all sorts of NBA books. I remember reading books like The Franchise about the Pistons, '88-'90, those championship teams. To read about the background of that then to see the other side for myself, you don't think as a junior high or high school kid you're going to see the other side." Krause was famous for his scouting, his acquisitions and his unusual personality, which led to bumpy relationships with Jordan, Pippen and Bulls coach Phil Jackson. Swenson, though, remembered him only for the flier Krause took on a player from a hometown of about 300. "I've read stuff about him, those guys kind of made fun of him. He's one of the those guys when you think of a scout, that's probably who you think of," he said. "This was a guy who'd go out and grind. He found Scottie Pippen at (then NAIA) Central Arkansas." [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3239156","attributes":{"alt":"Swenson during his senior year. (Submitted by the Creighton University Athletic Department)","class":"media-image","height":"450","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] After Swenson was cut by Chicago, he spent a few years playing in Las Vegas for the International Basketball League, which folded midway through his second year. He had a few European league tryouts, but it was never for him, he said. With all the travel, and with his career expectancy as a skinny 6-foot-10 dirty-work player, he saw the writing on the wall. So he returned back to Halliday, where he had reached the state tournament as a high schooler in Region 7 his junior and senior seasons from 1994-95. But he's always taken with him the memories of that training camp, and on the day of Krause's death, his recollection was extra clear. "It's like, and I've said this before," Swenson joked, "it's like I Forrest Gump'd my way onto a basketball team. It's a small world in the basketball world, and it was nice to be a part of it for a while."In the summer and fall of 1999, Jerry Krause, the embattled general manager of the Chicago Bulls during the team's dynasty throughout the '90s, was trying to rebuild his team back into a winner after the second retirement of Michael Jordan and the departure of Scottie Pippen. He selected both Elton Brand and Ron Artest in the first round of that summer's NBA draft and, a few months later, signed another rookie - undrafted Doug Swenson out of Creighton, a native of Halliday, N.D., who still lives and ranches in his hometown. Swenson, who spent two years at Bismarck State College before moving onto Creighton, lasted only 20 or so days with the Bulls, traveling to and from preseason games on the team's first class plane, before being waived. Though he injured himself early on in training camp, and never saw action in a preseason game, he had the best seat in the house, Swenson joked, and it was all thanks to Krause, who died Tuesday at the age of 77. The two first met earlier in 1999, when Krause, known then as "The Sleuth" because of his secretive, almost paranoid scouting methods, was taking a hard look at Swenson's teammate, future NBAer Rodney Buford. Thanks to Creighton's run to the second round of the NCAA tournament - beating Louisville and then losing to future NBA all-star Steve Francis and Maryland - and an assist from his agent, Swenson, now 39, was invited to a pre-draft workout held by the Bulls. "He brought four or five or six guys at a time, put you through all the measurements and the one-on-one interviews," Swenson recalled. "That's probably what gave me my chance more than anything, I think I was a pretty good interview. The trivia stuff - I told him I liked trivia - and I remember he said, 'Oh you're a trivia buff, here's one for you: Who's the only player to win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship and an ABA championship?' "I didn't know that. He got me. I still remember the answer, it was Tom Thacker. I knew I'd never forget the name. He went to Cincinnati, got an NBA ring with the Celtics, I can't remember who he won an ABA championship with." Swenson wasn't selected in that year's draft and, after being brought back for Chicago's summer league season, landed in training camp with Krause and the Bulls. When Krause sat down with him to sign the contract, Swenson said, Krause told him it was the same pen he used to ink one of Michael Jordan's contracts. Swenson never found out if he was joking. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3239162","attributes":{"alt":"Swenson dunking during the 1998 season. (Submitted by the Creighton University Athletic Department)","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"430"}}]] As the training camp roster shrank from its starting size of 20 players, Swenson initially found himself still in the mix. He was one of the 15 remaining players, and wasn't cut until late October, a few days before the start of the season. But Krause's offer, short-lived as it was, gave him a chance to peek into a secret world he had been fascinated with as a kid. "You always wish you could be a fly on the wall, and I was a fly on the wall. True as it could be, I couldn't hardly believe it," Swenson said. "I got waived at the end of October, it would have been in the later 20s. But that's one of my things - my transaction. I was signed and I was waived. They can't take my transactions away from me. I was on the ticker going across the bottom and in the paper. As a kid growing up, I read all sorts of NBA books. I remember reading books like The Franchise about the Pistons, '88-'90, those championship teams. To read about the background of that then to see the other side for myself, you don't think as a junior high or high school kid you're going to see the other side." Krause was famous for his scouting, his acquisitions and his unusual personality, which led to bumpy relationships with Jordan, Pippen and Bulls coach Phil Jackson. Swenson, though, remembered him only for the flier Krause took on a player from a hometown of about 300. "I've read stuff about him, those guys kind of made fun of him. He's one of the those guys when you think of a scout, that's probably who you think of," he said. "This was a guy who'd go out and grind. He found Scottie Pippen at (then NAIA) Central Arkansas."
After Swenson was cut by Chicago, he spent a few years playing in Las Vegas for the International Basketball League, which folded midway through his second year. He had a few European league tryouts, but it was never for him, he said. With all the travel, and with his career expectancy as a skinny 6-foot-10 dirty-work player, he saw the writing on the wall. So he returned back to Halliday, where he had reached the state tournament as a high schooler in Region 7 his junior and senior seasons from 1994-95. But he's always taken with him the memories of that training camp, and on the day of Krause's death, his recollection was extra clear. "It's like, and I've said this before," Swenson joked, "it's like I Forrest Gump'd my way onto a basketball team. It's a small world in the basketball world, and it was nice to be a part of it for a while."In the summer and fall of 1999, Jerry Krause, the embattled general manager of the Chicago Bulls during the team's dynasty throughout the '90s, was trying to rebuild his team back into a winner after the second retirement of Michael Jordan and the departure of Scottie Pippen.He selected both Elton Brand and Ron Artest in the first round of that summer's NBA draft and, a few months later, signed another rookie - undrafted Doug Swenson out of Creighton, a native of Halliday, N.D., who still lives and ranches in his hometown.Swenson, who spent two years at Bismarck State College before moving onto Creighton, lasted only 20 or so days with the Bulls, traveling to and from preseason games on the team's first class plane, before being waived.Though he injured himself early on in training camp, and never saw action in a preseason game, he had the best seat in the house, Swenson joked, and it was all thanks to Krause, who died Tuesday at the age of 77.The two first met earlier in 1999, when Krause, known then as "The Sleuth" because of his secretive, almost paranoid scouting methods, was taking a hard look at Swenson's teammate, future NBAer Rodney Buford.Thanks to Creighton's run to the second round of the NCAA tournament - beating Louisville and then losing to future NBA all-star Steve Francis and Maryland - and an assist from his agent, Swenson, now 39, was invited to a pre-draft workout held by the Bulls."He brought four or five or six guys at a time, put you through all the measurements and the one-on-one interviews," Swenson recalled. "That's probably what gave me my chance more than anything, I think I was a pretty good interview. The trivia stuff - I told him I liked trivia - and I remember he said, 'Oh you're a trivia buff, here's one for you: Who's the only player to win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship and an ABA championship?'"I didn't know that. He got me. I still remember the answer, it was Tom Thacker. I knew I'd never forget the name. He went to Cincinnati, got an NBA ring with the Celtics, I can't remember who he won an ABA championship with."Swenson wasn't selected in that year's draft and, after being brought back for Chicago's summer league season, landed in training camp with Krause and the Bulls.When Krause sat down with him to sign the contract, Swenson said, Krause told him it was the same pen he used to ink one of Michael Jordan's contracts. Swenson never found out if he was joking.
As the training camp roster shrank from its starting size of 20 players, Swenson initially found himself still in the mix. He was one of the 15 remaining players, and wasn't cut until late October, a few days before the start of the season.But Krause's offer, short-lived as it was, gave him a chance to peek into a secret world he had been fascinated with as a kid."You always wish you could be a fly on the wall, and I was a fly on the wall. True as it could be, I couldn't hardly believe it," Swenson said. "I got waived at the end of October, it would have been in the later 20s. But that's one of my things - my transaction. I was signed and I was waived. They can't take my transactions away from me. I was on the ticker going across the bottom and in the paper. As a kid growing up, I read all sorts of NBA books. I remember reading books like The Franchise about the Pistons, '88-'90, those championship teams. To read about the background of that then to see the other side for myself, you don't think as a junior high or high school kid you're going to see the other side."Krause was famous for his scouting, his acquisitions and his unusual personality, which led to bumpy relationships with Jordan, Pippen and Bulls coach Phil Jackson. Swenson, though, remembered him only for the flier Krause took on a player from a hometown of about 300."I've read stuff about him, those guys kind of made fun of him. He's one of the those guys when you think of a scout, that's probably who you think of," he said. "This was a guy who'd go out and grind. He found Scottie Pippen at (then NAIA) Central Arkansas."[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3239156","attributes":{"alt":"Swenson during his senior year. (Submitted by the Creighton University Athletic Department)","class":"media-image","height":"450","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]]After Swenson was cut by Chicago, he spent a few years playing in Las Vegas for the International Basketball League, which folded midway through his second year.He had a few European league tryouts, but it was never for him, he said. With all the travel, and with his career expectancy as a skinny 6-foot-10 dirty-work player, he saw the writing on the wall.So he returned back to Halliday, where he had reached the state tournament as a high schooler in Region 7 his junior and senior seasons from 1994-95.But he's always taken with him the memories of that training camp, and on the day of Krause's death, his recollection was extra clear."It's like, and I've said this before," Swenson joked, "it's like I Forrest Gump'd my way onto a basketball team. It's a small world in the basketball world, and it was nice to be a part of it for a while."In the summer and fall of 1999, Jerry Krause, the embattled general manager of the Chicago Bulls during the team's dynasty throughout the '90s, was trying to rebuild his team back into a winner after the second retirement of Michael Jordan and the departure of Scottie Pippen.He selected both Elton Brand and Ron Artest in the first round of that summer's NBA draft and, a few months later, signed another rookie - undrafted Doug Swenson out of Creighton, a native of Halliday, N.D., who still lives and ranches in his hometown.Swenson, who spent two years at Bismarck State College before moving onto Creighton, lasted only 20 or so days with the Bulls, traveling to and from preseason games on the team's first class plane, before being waived.Though he injured himself early on in training camp, and never saw action in a preseason game, he had the best seat in the house, Swenson joked, and it was all thanks to Krause, who died Tuesday at the age of 77.The two first met earlier in 1999, when Krause, known then as "The Sleuth" because of his secretive, almost paranoid scouting methods, was taking a hard look at Swenson's teammate, future NBAer Rodney Buford.Thanks to Creighton's run to the second round of the NCAA tournament - beating Louisville and then losing to future NBA all-star Steve Francis and Maryland - and an assist from his agent, Swenson, now 39, was invited to a pre-draft workout held by the Bulls."He brought four or five or six guys at a time, put you through all the measurements and the one-on-one interviews," Swenson recalled. "That's probably what gave me my chance more than anything, I think I was a pretty good interview. The trivia stuff - I told him I liked trivia - and I remember he said, 'Oh you're a trivia buff, here's one for you: Who's the only player to win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship and an ABA championship?'"I didn't know that. He got me. I still remember the answer, it was Tom Thacker. I knew I'd never forget the name. He went to Cincinnati, got an NBA ring with the Celtics, I can't remember who he won an ABA championship with."Swenson wasn't selected in that year's draft and, after being brought back for Chicago's summer league season, landed in training camp with Krause and the Bulls.When Krause sat down with him to sign the contract, Swenson said, Krause told him it was the same pen he used to ink one of Michael Jordan's contracts. Swenson never found out if he was joking.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"3239162","attributes":{"alt":"Swenson dunking during the 1998 season. (Submitted by the Creighton University Athletic Department)","class":"media-image","height":"480","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"430"}}]]As the training camp roster shrank from its starting size of 20 players, Swenson initially found himself still in the mix. He was one of the 15 remaining players, and wasn't cut until late October, a few days before the start of the season.But Krause's offer, short-lived as it was, gave him a chance to peek into a secret world he had been fascinated with as a kid."You always wish you could be a fly on the wall, and I was a fly on the wall. True as it could be, I couldn't hardly believe it," Swenson said. "I got waived at the end of October, it would have been in the later 20s. But that's one of my things - my transaction. I was signed and I was waived. They can't take my transactions away from me. I was on the ticker going across the bottom and in the paper. As a kid growing up, I read all sorts of NBA books. I remember reading books like The Franchise about the Pistons, '88-'90, those championship teams. To read about the background of that then to see the other side for myself, you don't think as a junior high or high school kid you're going to see the other side."Krause was famous for his scouting, his acquisitions and his unusual personality, which led to bumpy relationships with Jordan, Pippen and Bulls coach Phil Jackson. Swenson, though, remembered him only for the flier Krause took on a player from a hometown of about 300."I've read stuff about him, those guys kind of made fun of him. He's one of the those guys when you think of a scout, that's probably who you think of," he said. "This was a guy who'd go out and grind. He found Scottie Pippen at (then NAIA) Central Arkansas."
After Swenson was cut by Chicago, he spent a few years playing in Las Vegas for the International Basketball League, which folded midway through his second year.He had a few European league tryouts, but it was never for him, he said. With all the travel, and with his career expectancy as a skinny 6-foot-10 dirty-work player, he saw the writing on the wall.So he returned back to Halliday, where he had reached the state tournament as a high schooler in Region 7 his junior and senior seasons from 1994-95.But he's always taken with him the memories of that training camp, and on the day of Krause's death, his recollection was extra clear."It's like, and I've said this before," Swenson joked, "it's like I Forrest Gump'd my way onto a basketball team. It's a small world in the basketball world, and it was nice to be a part of it for a while."

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