Tatum, Smith lead the way on banner night for ACC in NBA Draft
Posted June 22
Updated June 23
A pair of Triangle talents went in the top 10 of the NBA Draft Thursday as the ACC set a conference record with 10 first round draft picks. In all, 14 players from nine different ACC schools were selected.
Duke forward Jayson Tatum was selected No. 3 overall by the Boston Celtics and NC State guard Dennis Smith Jr. was taken No. 9 overall by the Dallas Mavericks.
Not far behind Tatum and Smith was Duke guard Luke Kennard who went No. 12 overall to the Detroit Pistons. The Sacramento Kings traded picks with the Portland Trailblazers and took UNC forward Justin Jackson No. 15 overall.
Later in the first round, Wake Forest forward John Collins and Duke forward Harry Giles went back-to-back at picks 19 and 20. Collins was selected by the Atlanta Hawks and Giles was selected by the Kings via the Portland trade. Collins is the first Demon Deacon selected in the NBA Draft since 2010, when Al-Farouq Aminu went No. 8 overall.
Florida State forward Jonathan Issac became the second ACC player off the board as he went No. 6 overall to the Orlando Magic. Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell went No. 13 to the Denver Nuggets but was promptly traded to the Utah Jazz. Syracuse guard Tyler Lydon was picked No. 24 by the by the Jazz, but will head to Denver as part of the Mitchell trade.
UNC big man Tony Bradley capped the banner first round for the ACC as he was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers and quickly traded to Utah.
The 10 draftees from the ACC in the first round surpasses the previous high of eight in 1995.
The Charlotte Hornets took guard Malik Monk from Kentucky with the No. 11 overall pick. They then opened the second round by drafting Duke guard Frank Jackson at No. 31 overall but traded him to the New Orleans Pelicans for Florida State guard Dwayne Bacon.
"I'm very confident in my basketball abilities and I'm going to work my tail off," Jackson said. "This has always been a dream of mine. I'm going to take this opportunity and run with it."
Miami's Davon Reed (Phoenix Suns) and Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame (San Antonio Spurs) were also selected in the second round.
Former High Point Christian standout and 2016 North Carolina Mr. Basketball Bam Adebayo was drafted No. 14 overall by the Miami Heat. Former Duke forward Semi Ojeleye, who transfered to SMU, was taken by Boston in the second round. The Celtics also drafted former New Hanover High School standout Kadeem Allen (Arizona) late in the second round.
In one season at NC State, Smith averaged 18.1 points and 6.2 assists per game. Last year's ACC Freshman of the year, he is the first NC State player to be taken in the top 10 since Tom Gugliotta in 1992.
Tatum averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in his lone season with the Blue Devils. He becomes the third Duke player in as many years to be taken in the top three -- Brandon Ingram went No. 2 last year and Jahlil Okafor was selected No. 3 in 2015.
"The feeling is everything I wished for and more," Tatum said.
Kennard, a consensus 2nd Team All-American last season, played two years at Duke, averaging 15.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He was also the MVP of last year’s ACC Tournament and the only unanimous first-team all-ACC selection.
"It was a tough choice to leave Duke. Duke is such a special place," Kennard said. "I just trusted the people I surrounded myself with, my family and my coaches."
Jackson, a 6-foot-8 forward, played three seasons in Chapel Hill and was named the ACC Player of the Year last season after averaging 18.1 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. After debating the NBA a year ago, his calculation to return to UNC paid off as he won a national championship and still landed in the first round.
"I think it's the perfect story," Jackson said. "I wasn't ready last year. Words can't describe how I feel."
Washington guard Markelle Fultz was selected No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. As many expected, UCLA guard Lonzo Ball went No. 2 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Kansas forward Josh Jackson (Sacramento) and Kentucky guard D’Aaon Fox (Phoenix) rounded out the top 5.
For the first time in NBA history, each of the first seven draft picks were one-and-done freshmen. Frank Ntilikina, an 18-year-old from France broke that streak when he was selected No. 8 overall by the New York Knicks. In all, an NBA-record 16 freshmen were drafted in the first round while only two seniors were taken in the first 30 picks.