Dressed like a 1960s bandleader, former Kansas star Andrew Wiggins was the first player selected in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. He dressed for the occasion.
The Cleveland Cavaliers toggled between Wiggins and Duke’s Jabari Parker, but settled on Wiggins, a super-athletic forward who averaged 17.1 points in his only season of college basketball after joining the Jayhawks from Canada.
“A thousand thoughts are going through my head right now,” said Wiggins, donning a black tuxedo jacket with vast floral print and exaggerated bowtie. “It’s a dream come true.”
Parker, a Chicago native with an advanced offensive game, was selected No. 2 by Milwaukee. “I’m just very optimistic,” Parker said. “If it was 1, 2, put me at 60, just getting that opportunity, getting that chance of being in the NBA.”
Going third to Philadelphia was another Kansas star, center Joel Embiid, who likely would have been the No. 1 pick were he not sidelined with foot surgery. The 76ers, who traded for Andrew Bynum last season and got nothing out of the chronically injured big man, took a flight on Embiid, who has “limitless” potential, according the NBA scouts.
After the lottery part of the draft was over, the night’s most emotional moment came. NBA commissioner Adam Silver, leading his first draft, announced “with the next pick in the NBA Draft, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin of Baylor.”
This week, Austin learned he had to end his basketball career because he has the potentially fatal Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the heart.
Wearing a blue hat with the NBA logo, Austin rose for a standing ovation and wiped away tears as he headed to the stage. In an interview after the class acknowledgment by the league, Austin, a projected second-round pick, said he would take to the speaking circuit with hopes of informing the masses about Marfan syndrome and inspiring youths to fight through adversity.
To see the entire draft list, click here.