BROOKLYN, NY (WWBT) - Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter has been selected with the fourth pick in the 2019 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. The Los Angeles Lakers made the draft pick on Thursday night, but Hunter will end up with the Hawks after a variety of pre-draft trades. He becomes the highest Cavalier selected since Ralph Sampson was picked first by the Houston Rockets in 1983.
Hunter left UVA after his sophomore season, a campaign that saw him average 15.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest. He pulled in NABC National Defensive Player of the Year honors, ACC Defensive Player of the Year accolades, First Team All-ACC and Consensus Third Team All-American.
Hunter saved his best for last, scoring a career-high 27 points and adding nine rebounds in the Cavaliers’ national championship game win over Texas Tech. The sophomore hit a crucial three-pointer to tie the game in regulation, and connected on another long ball in overtime.
The Hawks traded for the No. 4 pick with New Orleans earlier on Thursday to secure the chance to draft Hunter.
Hunter’s college teammate, Ty Jerome, was also a first round selection, going 24th overall to Phoenix Suns, though the 76ers made the selection, as trades have yet to become official.
Jerome was a crucial part of Virginia’s national championship run, scoring or assisting on 47 percent of the Cavaliers’ NCAA Tournament points. That marks the 2nd-most by a player on a national championship team in the last decade, per ESPN. Jerome averaged 13.6 points per game and led the ACC with 6.1 assists per outing during the season.
The selections of Hunter and Jerome mark the first time ever that UVA has had two players taken in the first round of the NBA Draft.
As the night wound down, the final remaining member of the Wahoos’ “Big Three” finally left the board. The New York Knicks selected Kyle Guy in the second round with the 55th pick.
Guy left after his junior year when his stock could not have been higher. He was the leading scorer on a national championship team and the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. One of his greatest career highlights was hitting the three biggest free throws in UVA history, pushing the Cavaliers past Auburn in the national semifinal.
Under the current format, this is the first time UVA has seen three of its players selected in the NBA Draft. Former Virginia guard Mariel Shayock was taken 54th by the 76ers, as well. He transferred to Iowa State to finish his college career.
Virginia Tech also heard one its players called on Thursday night. Nickeil Alexander-Walker was selected by the Pelicans with the 17th overall pick (via Brooklyn and Atlanta). He’ll join top pick Zion Williamson in New Orleans.
Like Hunter, Alexander-Walker departed after his sophomore season. He’s the first Hokie selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since Dell Curry in 1986, who was taken 15th by the Utah Jazz. Those two players are the only two first rounders in Virginia Tech history, though Alexander-Walker is the only non-senior to go in the first round from the school.
The sophomore guard was key in the Hokies’ run to the Sweet 16 this past season, leading the team with 16.2 points per game.
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