Australia’s newest basketball export Dyson Daniels has revealed he had no idea where he was going to be signed ahead of Friday’s (AEST) NBA draft.
Speaking on Today on Saturday morning, Daniels’ said his agent had kept his new home secret from him before the draft.
“He wouldn’t give me any anything! So you know, I was just sitting there not really sure where I was gonna go,” he said.
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“I kind of had a range of like (pick) 5-11, but there’s no better place to be than New Orleans.”
Daniels, who grew up in Bendigo, was selected eighth overall in the 2022 draft, and stands to earn in excess of $6 million in his first season. He will sign a guaranteed two-year deal with the Pelicans, with the team holding options for a third and fourth year.
Daniels said he’d celebrated the moment with a small party with family, including his mum.
“I had a few quiet ones but it was so good to hear my name called out. Having the support of Bendigo behind me, it doesn’t go unnoticed. I’m just thrilled to be in the NBA now,” he said.
“It’s very exciting to celebrate with my family, friends and my agent. I’m just thrilled to be a Pelican.”
Daniels’ ability to play defend multiple positions will allow him to get minutes early on playing alongside the likes of CJ McCollum and the returning Kira Lewis Jr, who missed the 2021-22 season with an injury.
“He’s an NBA-ready defender,” ESPN draft expert Jay Bilas said of the selection.
Daniels said he had to be careful to not let the hype get to him.
“I have to make sure I stay grounded. This is a dream come true for me. To finally hear my name called after 19 years of hard work … I’ve been dreaming of this moment.”
Daniels joins a team that is ready to rocket up the NBA standings next season if All-Star forward Zion Williamson is healthy to play.
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