Just two years into his NBA career, Atlanta Hawks guard Kevin Huerter is already proving to be quite the player. After an impressive rookie season, which saw him average 10 points, three rebounds and three assists in 75 games, Huerter was named to the All-Rookie Second Team for the 2018-19 season. He then followed that up with a solid second year in the league, putting up 12.2 points, four rebounds and nearly four assists, while shooting 38% from 3-point range. He’s become a sharpshooting specialist for the Hawks, and his incredibly efficient shooting numbers make him a key piece in Atlanta’s young core.

Huerter is on a trajectory to have a long NBA career based on his skillset, but it wasn’t too long ago that the 6-foot-7 guard out of Maryland was wondering where his basketball career would take him as he waited to hear his name called on draft night. The wait wasn’t too long, though, as Huerter heard his name called by commissioner Adam Silver when the Hawks selected him 19th in the first round. Huerter shared his experience of being drafted in 2018 on CBS Sports’ “Draft Day Memories: Presented By Jeep.”

“The whole draft is such a build up and I was so nervous all day,” Huerter said. “I made the decision to not go down to New York and go to the draft, so I stayed home and we put on a party with all my friends and family at a local country club. When the Atlanta Hawks came up on the clock, sure enough Adam Silver came on and announced I’d be going 19th. It was such a sense of relief, almost like everything stopped for me and went in slow motion. It was like I could finally take a deep breath.”

Being drafted in the NBA was never a dream that Huerter had as a kid, but basketball ran in his family, as his father played Division I ball at Siena College. It wasn’t as though Huerter didn’t have the skill to make it to the league, he was named Mr. Basketball for New York state as well as Gatorade Player of the Year during high school, on top of winning a state championship in his junior year. However, his goal was always to just play basketball in college and be able to play in the NCAA tournament. 

It wasn’t until he got to Maryland, that he actually thought seriously about playing at the next level.

“It was after my freshman year, some of the guys on the team started joking how I wouldn’t be there for four years, and that was the first time I started to take it seriously,” Huerter said. “It was a really, really tough decision, but the feedback I got from NBA scouts, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”

After two years in college, Huerter declared for the NBA Draft, and once he was drafted and his professional career began, it wasn’t long before he had his first “welcome to the league” moment.

“We played Golden State and at the time Kevin Durant was on the team,” Huerter said. “I picked him up — I didn’t start the game guarding him, I got switched onto him — and he lost the ball and dribbled out to half court. He had to go chase it and recover from it, and I remember I picked him up from half court and I was thinking I was doing a pretty good job. I thought, it’s been about five seconds and he hasn’t scored on me yet. Then he took like the two easiest dribbles into a side-step jump shot and he banged it. It was probably an easier move for him than I thought it was at the time, and as he was back peddling on defense he just yelled ‘welcome to the league rook.'”

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