MINNEAPOLIS - The University of Minnesota men’s basketball team ended a 15-year drought in the NBA Draft Wednesday night.
Woodbury native and Cretin-Derham Hall alum Daniel Oturu was taken No. 33 overall, the third pick in the second round, by the New York Knicks. Oturu is the first Gophers’ player to be drafted since Kris Humphries in 2004. He’s the first player under coach Richard Pitino to be drafted, and the second Gophers player under Pitino to get an NBA chance after Amir Coffey signed a two-way contract with the L.A. Clippers last season.
"That’s a very, very long drought. That’s very important. For our program to have back to back players out of the state of Minnesota go to the NBA, that just shows the growth of the program," Pitino said Tuesday.
The Knicks are reportedly sending the pick to the Clippers, meaning Oturu and Coffey will be reunited as NBA teammates.
Oturu led the Gophers in scoring and rebounding as a sophomore, and was an All-Big Ten selection. He was the only player in the NCAA to average at least 20 points and 11 rebounds per game.
Hopkins star Zeke Nnaji heads to Nuggets at No. 22 pick
Former Hopkins star Zeke Nnaji was the first Minnesota native to come off the NBA Draft board Wednesday night. Nnaji was taken by the Denver Nuggets wth the No. 22 overall pick. In one season at Arizona, Nnaji averaged more than 16 points and eight rebounds per game and was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Former DeLaSalle star Tyrell Terry, after a standout freshman season at Stanford, was taken No. 31 overall by the Dallas Mavericks. Former Apple Valley star Tre Jones was the fourth Minnesota natiev drafted Wednesday night. He was taken No. 41 overall by the San Antonio Spurs.
Jones was the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year at Duke last season, averaging 16 points and six assists per game for the Blue Devils.