Kyle O’Quinn, the forward that led historically black Norfolk State to the major upset of the NCAA Tournament over Missouri in March Madness, completed his mercurial rise Thursday night when he was was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft, No.49 overall, by the Orlando Magic.
“Overwhelming, the stamp on a job well done,” the gracious O’Quinn said. “The long road I’ve been on to reach the highest level . . . put me in a position to do this.”
O’Quinn improved each year at Norfolk State and became one of the darlings of the NCAA tournament after the Spartans knocked off the No. 2-seeded Mizzou in the first round. He had 26 points and 14 rebounds in the victory that stunned the nation.
The New York native improved his stock dramatically when he was named MVP of Portsmouth Invitational tournament. In recent weeks he worked out for 20 teams. Mock drafts had him being selected anywhere from 35 to 55.
The 6-foot-9 O’Quinn helped his cause with his character. He showed a gracious nature and wit and charm — all conveyed in a genuine spirit.
“We’ve been through everything,” O’Quinn said. “As they always say, in order to see the light, you have to go through the dark. It’s definitely made me more appreciative.”