Duke had a big night in the 2019 NBA Draft with three Top Ten picks and that helped push the ACC to a record night: the nation’s best basketball conference grabbed half the Top Ten spots and six of the first eleven when Phoenix surprisingly took Cam Johnson at #11.
- Zion Williamson (1)
- RJ Barrett (3)
- De’Andre Hunter (4)
- Coby White (7)
- Cam Reddish (10)
- Cam Johnson (11)
Underrated Virginia point guard Ty Jerome went to Phoenix via trade at #24, one pick before UNC’s Nassir Little, who went to Portland at #25. Florida State’s Mfiondu Kabengele closed out first round ACC picks, going to Brooklyn at #27 (we think we heard that he’s headed to the Clippers, but it’s hard to keep track of all the movements on draft night).
Former State wing Cody Martin went to the Hornets at #36 and FSU’s Terance Mann went to the Clippers at #48.
Former Virginia guard Marial Shayok, who finished at Iowa State, was taken by Philly at #54, one pick before current Cavalier Kyle Guy went to New York at #55 where he’ll join Duke’s Barrett.
Dewan Hernandez of Miami was picked by the Raptors at #59.
Syracuse’s entries, Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett, were passed over, but one-time Orange commit Darius Bazely was selected by the Jazz at #23 and will be sent to Oklahoma City, which is the best you can expect for a guy who interned last season instead of playing ball somewhere. It looks like a brilliant decision in retrospect. You have to think that Battle and Brisset are somewhat annoyed.
One of the great reactions to the draft was when UNC’s White was stunned to be told that Johnson went at #11 to Phoenix. He wasn’t the only one. It was a very strange pick.
Someone else who was probably shaking his head was his recent teammate Little.
Coming out of high school, Little was seen as a huge natural talent (quite rightly) but when he got to UNC he had trouble finding a role, largely due to his poor skills (as opposed to talent) and after the season wasn’t shy about taking issue with that.
After he was drafted, after falling to #25, he immediately renewed his complaint campaign about how he was used at UNC. In fairness to Roy Williams, what was he supposed to do? He wasn’t going to to sit Johnson for Little and certainly not Luke Maye, who could on any night get 16 rebounds and who was a rugged and accomplished senior.
Like Battle and Brissett, Maye didn’t get drafted but he may be able to hustle his way onto a roster.
The big loser on draft night was Oregon’s Bol Bol. Seen by some as a possible fringe lottery pick, he fell to #44, going to Miami, which will be sending him to Denver.
There are questions about him to be sure but he’s still 7-2, a superb shot blocker and a solid three point shooter. Yes he’s still frail but he has potential. It’s hard to imagine so many teams passing on him. Sometimes group think takes hold but sometimes everyone just understands that there is risk involved so they pass.