BROOKLYN - Alex Len was selected fifth overall by the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday evening.
Len, a 7-foot-1 center from Antratsit, Ukraine, is the 18th player in Maryland history to be taken in the first round, and is the highest drafted Terrapin since Steve Francis went second overall in 1999.
“I’m really excited to go to Phoenix,” said Len. “It’s a great city, great team. A lot of young players. I just can’t wait to get to work and help the team win. I think we’re going to be good, and I met a couple of guys. I know Marcin Gortat and I can’t wait to get there and just help the team win.”
“We are very proud of Alex,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “He has worked extremely hard to become a top five selection in the NBA Draft. He is committed to getting better each day and will continue to do so as he makes the transition to the NBA. Alex has come such a long way in just two years both on and off the court and we are all very excited for what the future holds for him. This is a great day and exciting time for the Maryland Basketball program.”
In two years at Maryland, Len transformed his body and game, adding more than 30 pounds of muscle and nearly doubling his scoring average from his freshman to sophomore year. Len led the team in rebounds (7.9 per game) and ranked second in scoring (11.9 per game) as a sophomore in 2012-13. He also led the Atlantic Coast Conference in blocked shots and was a member of the All-ACC Defensive Team.
Len is the first Terrapin selected in the first round of the draft since 2010, when Greivis Vasquez was taken 28th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Besides Vasquez, Jordan Williams (2011, New Jersey Nets), James Gist (2008, San Antonio), D.J. Strawberry (2007, Phoenix) and Steve Blake (2003, Washington) were Maryland’s most recent selections in the draft, all taken in the second round.
Maryland Basketball in the NBA Draft
- 1st top-10 selection since Chris Wilcox in 2002
- 15th top-15 pick
- 18th first-round pick
- 59th Maryland player selected in the NBA Draft