June 21, 2018 10:55 PM
The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Josh Okogie, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard out of Georgia Tech, with the 20th overall pick in the first round of Thursday night's NBA Draft.
Okogie spent two seasons with the Yellowjackets, averaging 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season.
He is a two-time All-ACC pick and was part of the U.S. national team in the FIBA U19 World Cup.
A non-Timberwolves executive texted our Darren Wolfson, saying, "Athletic, driver/slasher. Most improved player on an average team, and he took off at the end of the year. Will continue to improve, and upside is solid." This executive saw Georgia Tech play multiple times last season.
Okogie took part in a conference call with reporters. He is uber-confident he can earn minutes as a rookie under veteran coach Tom Thibodeau: "I can help from Day 1," he said.
Okogie watched the draft with family and friends at a lounge in Atlanta. He will meet the Twin Cities media on Tuesday. He worked out for the Timberwolves on June 4, a source tells Wolfson. That workout included Villanova's Donte DiVincenzo, Miami's Bruce Brown Jr., and Arizona's Rawle Alkins.
In the second round the Wolves selected Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop with the 48th overall pick. Bates-Diop is a small forward from Ohio State whom many projections had going in the first round. A source tells Wolfson that Bates-Diop worked out for the Wolves earlier this week.
Former Gophers assistant and current Xavier lead assistant Ben Johnson knows Bates Diop well. He helped game-plan to stop the Buckeyes forward for the last three years.
"He's smart, long, and a skilled versatile player," Johnson told Wolfson. "He's a winner who knows how to play and he has a high IQ."
Early in the second round, Apple Valley-native Gary Trent Jr. was drafted 37th overall by Sacramento then traded to Portland in exchange for two future second round picks.
Trent's father Gary was the 11th overall draft pick in 1995. He played three of his nine NBA seasons with the Timberwolves.
Trent Jr. transferred to a Nevada prep school after winning a State Championship with Apple Valley in 2016. He spent one year at Duke University before entering the NBA Draft.
Updated: June 21, 2018 10:55 PM
Created: June 21, 2018 08:53 PM
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