Yarraville basketballer Josh Giddey says it’s a dream come true to be drafted with the sixth pick by Oklahoma City Thunder in today’s NBA draft.
It makes the 18-year-old the highest Australian ever drafted directly from the NBL to the NBA (the previous highest was Chris Anstey, who was draft pick 18 in 1997).
Speaking in Brooklyn, New York, Giddey said Oklahoma was one of his top teams.
“Look, first it’s a dream come true … to be taken by the Thunder and to have them want me on their team it makes me feel really special and I couldn’t be happier,” he said.
“The pre-draft process was good.
“Oklahoma is actually one of my favourite teams and to be picked by them, it’s a dream come true.
“So love the guys, the coaches, the staff on the team, and really happy to be there.”
He will start his NBA career in Oklahoma City after spending the 2020-21 NBL season with the Adelaide 36ers.
Giddey’s season with the 36ers saw him win the NBL’s Rookie of the Year award after averaging 10.9 points, 7.5 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game.
He is the first Australian in NBL history to record back-to-back triple doubles as his draft stock rose dramatically during the year.
Giddey described sharing the dream moment with his mum, Kim, and dad, Warrick, who both have legacies in the WNBL and NBL.
“It means the world,” Giddey said.
“To have my family – it was tough to get them over here from Australia and to have them on the table tonight to be able to hug them in that moment and be with them tonight, it means a lot for me, and for them to enjoy this moment with me as well, because I give a lot of credit to them.
“They have raised me the right way, they have spent countless hours … sacrificing their time for me and my basketball.
“So, they deserve this moment just as much as I do and I’m really happy that they’re here with me and I got to share it with them.”
Giddey will be near his sister, Hannah Giddey, who committed to Oral Roberts University after her 2019 Elite Girls Tour to the US.
“She’s in Tulsa which is about an hour and a half out of Oklahoma, so this was a dream situation and my parents are over the moon about it now because they can visit both me and her,” he said.
Giddey said Oklahoma had been straight-up with him from day one.
“They were just great people,” he said.
“I met with, I was talking to Sam [Presti] and the rest of the staff and coaches and stuff like that and just the way they talked and told me about how they want to lift their program and the direction they’re headed in.
“It was something I wanted to be a part of.
“It’s a young team and I think it can be something really special and I wanted to be part of that.
“Moving forward, hopefully in the next coming years … we can have a lot of success in Oklahoma.
“It was really something I wanted to be a part of and kind of start from the bottom and move our way up in the league.
“It’s a great young team and I can’t wait to get down there and get started.”