By Harvey Araton

Drafting a high school player was not exactly Jerry Colangelo’s idea of a prudent developmental strategy. Even after the emergence of Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant, Colangelo was a true believer in the college experience, decidedly old-school.

And then he sat in the Phoenix Suns’ practice complex in the spring of 2002 and watched the workout of a Florida scholastic prodigy, an athletic force of nature named Amar’e Stoudemire.

“I told our staff, if he’s available when we pick at No. 9, he’s our guy,” said Colangelo, the Suns’ former owner.

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