Record four Minnesotans taken in NBA Draft
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No NBA Draft had ever featured more than two Minnesotans – but this year’s edition doubled that mark as four Minnesota-natives and former high school stars heard their names called on Wednesday night.
Hopkins’ Zeke Nnaji was the first of the homegrown quartet to be drafted. The Denver Nuggets selected him in the first round with the 22nd overall pick. Nnaji had a superb freshman year at the University of Arizona, prompting him to make the decision to enter the Draft.
Click the video box on this page to watch Zeke Nnaji’s post-draft videoconference
Nnaji was the only Minnesotan who made it into the first round, as DeLaSalle grad Tyrell Terry just missed. He was selected by the Dallas Mavericks with the first pick of the second round – the 31st overall pick.
Two plays later, the Gopher basketball team’s sixteen year NBA Draft drought ended when the Los Angeles Clippers drafted Cretin-Derham Hall grad Daniel Oturu. The pick was announced by the Timberwolves, but the pick was previously conveyed to the Clippers. Oturu will join his Gopher teammate Amir Coffey on the Clippers roster. Coffey signed with the Clippers as a free agent during the summer of 2019 and played his rookie season last year.
Apple Valley-grad Tre Jones went to the San Antonio Spurs with the 11th pick of the second round – the 41st overall pick. The Draft telecast showed an emotional Tre on a couch in his home, with his brother Tyus – a current Memphis Grizzlie – sitting next to him.