Maryland basketball has its highest NBA draft pick since 2013.
Sophomore guard Kevin Huerter came off the board in the first round Thursday night, going 19th overall to the Atlanta Hawks.
Huerter averaged 12 points, five rebounds and three assists in 65 games at Maryland, with all those numbers rising from his freshman to sophomore year. He also shot 50.3 percent from the floor and 41.7 from three-point range in 2017-18, making him one of the best shooters in this draft class.
When Huerter declared for the draft without an agent in April, most expected him to receive feedback from scouts and return to school. But a strong performance in both tests and scrimmages at the NBA combine launched Huerter into the first-round discussion, where he has remained since. He announced his intention to stay in the draft on May 30. Despite having surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right hand, teams weren’t deterred from drafting the 6’7 wing.
The Hawks went 24-58 this past season, finishing last in the eastern conference. Huerter will join a draft class that includes Oklahoma’s Trae Young, who went fifth earlier in the evening. His recovery from surgery will keep him out of the summer league, but he’s expected to be at 100 percent by the preseason.
Maryland had three NBA Draft entrants this cycle, with Justin Jackson declaring in March and Bruno Fernando testing the waters in April. While Fernando withdrew his name last month to return to the Terps, Jackson is still on the board and could hear his name called by the end of the night. Huerter was never considered the best prospect of the trio until weeks ago, but here he is as a first-round selection.