Dwight Howard became the third high school player taken first overall in the National Basketball Association Draft on Thursday.
Howard has a lot of expectation on his shoulders
Howard was selected by the Orlando Magic as a likely replacement for star Tracy McGrady.
"I don't feel any pressure There are a lot of things that I have to do because I was taken number one, but I think I can overcome," Howard said.
"This feels so good Now it's going to be based on my work ethic."
He added: "I'm going to go out and prove all the doubters wrong. I need to go out and play hard every night. That's what I do. I'm ready to go to work."
NBA DRAFT FIRST PICKS
2004 Dwight Howard
2003 LeBron James
2002 Yao Ming
2001 Kwame Brown
2000 Kenyon Martin
1999 Elton Brand
1998 Michael Olowokandi
1997 Tim Duncan
1996 Allen Iverson
1995 Joe Smith
1994 Glenn Robinson
University of Connecticut star Emeka Okafor, whose father emigrated to the United States from Nigeria, was taken second by the NBA's newest team, the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.
Okafor's teammate on the US collegiate champions, London-born guard Ben
Gordon, went third to Chicago.
High school guard Shaun Livingston went fourth to the Los Angeles Clippers while seven-foot teen giant Robert Swift went 12th to Seattle.
Britain's Luol Deng, who was born in Sudan, and Brazil's Rafael Araujo were the top choices among eight international players selected in the first round.
Three Russians, two Slovenians and the first-ever NBA selection from Latvia rounded out the first-round choices by NBA executives, who last year took nine global players in the first round and 21 overall, both records.