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ACC Basketball News & Notes Seven Names Called in the NBA Draft

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It was a banner night for the Atlantic Coast Conference at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY two weeks ago. The NBA held its annual draft and the league once again had a good night. Six players were chosen in the first round, with one more taken in the second round. Over the last nine draft nights (2014-22) the ACC has had 55 first-round picks. That is the most of any conference in college basketball. The league also has 32 top 14 picks which span the last 13 years. The league can lay claim to having at least one first-round pick over the last 34 years. They lead all college basketball leagues with 57 lottery selections. What all of this proves is the ACC, year in and year out is where the Association looks to for players who are ready to jump in and produce.

Duke ended the night with four players selected in the first round. It tied a program record and marked the fourth time an ACC school had that first-round pick. For the Blue Devils, it was the second time this happened. The last time was in 1999. Their total of five for the night was the most by any school. For the 12th time, the league landed the number one overall pick. That is also the most of any conference in college hoops. Here is where and when these players were selected.

The Orlando Magic had the first pick of the night, and with it, they selected Duke’s Paulo Banchero. The 6-10 big man made quite an impression in his only year with the Blue Devils. He averaged 17.2 points per game shooting 47.8% from the field. He grabbed just under eight rebounds a night, added 3.2 assists, and a little over a steal per contest. He had 12 double-doubles and 15 games of 20 points or more. Both of those numbers were the best of any freshman power-forward in the country. In the postseason, Banchero averaged 17.8 points, eight rebounds, and 3.6 assists as Duke made their way to yet another Final Four appearance.

With the 15th pick in the first round, the Charlotte Hornets selected Mark Williams from Duke. Williams was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year. It certainly helps to stand 7-2 with a 7-6 wingspan and a 9-9 standing reach. He ranked 12th in the nation with 2.82 shot blocks per game and finished the year with 110 which was fifth in the nation. Williams can score in the paint, averaging 11.2 points to go along with 7.4 boards a night. He ranked sixth in rebounds per game in the league.

The Atlanta Hawks had the 16th pick and took Duke’s guard A.J. Griffin. The freshman averaged 10.4 points and shot 49.3% from the field. From 3-point range, Griffin’s numbers went up to 44.7%. Griffin was second on the team in scoring at 12.6 in conference action. He shot 48.9% from deep while pulling down 4.5 rebounds. The 6-6, 220-pound guard hopes to help his new team at various positions.

At number 19, the Minnesota Timberwolves took the first non-Blue Devil player. They went with Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia. This selection was made as part of a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. He averaged 14.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.7 steals, and one block. His 55 total steals tie him for 15th best in program history. The second-team All ACC Player ranked third in the league in field goal percentage at 55.9%, sixth in steals, and tenth in free-throw percentage at 77.7%.

At number 25, the San Antonio Spurs selected Notre Dame guard Blake Wesley. The 6-5 backcourt man averaged 14.4 points per game which led the Irish. His 3-point shooting was only 29.6% which will need to be improved. He did get four boards a night and passed out 2.4 assists a game. In league play, Wesley went for 15.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists.

With the 26th pick, the Dallas Mavericks added Wendle Moore Jr. to the team. This move was also part of a trade with the Houston Rockets. The junior forward was named the Julius Erving small forward of the year and made both second-team All-Conference and All-Defense in the league. Averaged 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, and a team-leading 4.4 assists. Moore shot 50% from the field and 41.3% from 3-point territory. Moore was the only power forward in the country to shoot 50% from the field, and 40% from behind the arc while grabbing at least five rebounds and handing out four assists a night.

In the second round, there was only one ACC player taken. With the 42nd pick, the New York Knicks took Trevor Keels from Duke. The freshman guard was the team’s third-leading scorer at 11.5 points a night. He shot 41.9% from the field and had 44 steals on the season which was second-most on the team. His assist to turnover numbers was very good, 98 assists to only 45 turnovers for a 2.17 ratio.

It was a busy night for the ACC and one that people who follow the NBA will be happy with.

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