NEW YORK (AP) — Bol Bol started the night high-fiving children as he walked across the stage as part of the festivities, being introduced with Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, RJ Barrett and others expecting to hear their names called early in the NBA draft.
The other players were long gone by the time Bol heard his name called.
It was an uncomfortably long wait for the 7-foot-2 Oregon freshman as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver rattled off the names of Bol’s peers and the green room emptied out. The first round had come to an end and Bol — who was projected as a possible lottery pick — was still undrafted.
The agony ended when Miami ended picked him with the 44th overall pick.
Not that Bol is heading to South Beach. Nope, the Heat traded his draft rights to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a future second-round pick and financial considerations.
Bol averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks while shooting 56% from the field and 52% from 3-point range with a rangy game and an unusual skillset, though there were concerns after he played just nine college games due to a foot injury.
“I just want to prove everyone wrong and just come out and be the best player I can be,” Bol said on ESPN’s draft broadcast.
The wait was a big fall for the son of late NBA player Manute Bol.
He found himself sitting in the green room as the last player there as the draft moved into the second round.
While it probably wasn’t how Bol envisioned being drafted, his selection drew loud cheers from the fans who stuck around to watch the second round. They seemed to be happy for him that the awkwardness was ending.
The reaction prompted Bol to say: “It feels pretty good, I didn’t know I had that many fans until right now.”