The Orlando Magic selected Gonzaga forward Domantas Sabonis with the No. 11 pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft. Domantas Sabonis was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder immediately after being drafted. Sabonis is the sixth player in Gonzaga history to be selected in the first round.
Sabonis capitalized on a stellar sophomore year campaign where he averaged 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He gave himself a high-profile boost against Jakob Poeltl in Gonzaga’s second-round win over Utah in the NCAA Tournament.
The Magic are getting one of the more NBA-ready big men in the draft. Sabonis isn’t the most athletic player on the floor, but he makes up for it with pristine timing and fluidity in the post. His inside game and rebounding prowess are good to go. His jump shooting can use a bit of work, but, he still has plenty of time to evolve and grow his game.
Sabonis exits his collegiate career with a few WCC records intact. In just two short years, he is now ninth on the defensive rebounds record book with 502, and his two-point field goal percentage of 0.638 is the third-best all time in the conference.
Sabonis made a big impact his freshman year, and that was on display during a win over St. Joseph’s where he recorded his first double-double. But his freshman year was plagued with traditional freshman year issues—dumb fouls.
In his sophomore year, it became readily apparent that Sabonis was ready to move on to the next level, especially after Przemek Karnowski went down with a season-ending back injury. The new, improved, and absolutely dominant Sabonis emerged against Tennessee, where Sabonis almost-literally put the entire team on his back and gutted out a victory, scoring 36 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in the process.
Sabonis, you were always a treat to watch, and now you have a new fanbase that gets to soak up all of your roars. Congratulations and good luck.