Sports


Stanford's Huestis, Powell getting ready for prime time

Stanford grad Josh Huestis heard from the Oklahoma City Thunder and then he heard from Thunder star Kevin Durant.

Huestis was drafted in the first round by the Thunder, and was joined by former teammate Dwight Powell, who went in the second round to the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night, it was announced at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

It's the first time two Stanford players have been chosen in a draft since twins Brook Lopez (No. 10, New Jersey Nets) and Robin Lopez (No. 15, Phoenix Suns) were selected in 2008.

Huestis, who was the 29th overall pick, is the first Cardinal player selected in the NBA Draft since Landry Fields was taken 39th overall in the second round by the New York Knicks four years ago.

"Josh is a guy who has tremendous winning qualities," Thunder GM Sam Presti told the team's official website. "He's a guy who has tremendous length. He's able to guard multiple positions. The other thing about him that is very apparent is that he may be one of the best athletes who has walked through our gym. His athletic testing numbers, in combination with his intelligence as a player and team member, makes a very intriguing package for us."

Once Huestis was selected, he received a congratulatory text message from Durant.

"To me, it's absolutely incredible," Huestis said. "For someone like Kevin Durant, the top scorer in the world, to reach out to us, guys that just joined the organization, says something about his character and his vision of who the team can be."

Powell is in limbo for the time being. The Hornets are in discussions to trade the rights to Powell and will not be able to consummate any potential trade until after the moratorium period ends July 10.

The team will not make a comment on Powell, or his future, until trade discussions are completed.

Stanford players have been picked 11 times since 2000, fourth-best behind UCLA (20), Arizona (17) and Washington (10) among Pac-12 schools.

A three-time Pac-12 Defensive Team selection, Huestis established a school record with 190 career blocks, an accomplishment for a player who stands 6-7.

"One of the things that we identified after watching him is that he's a low-mistake player on the defensive end," Presti said. "His ability to be in schemes, not only as a young player, but as an elite athlete, is really impressive. This is a guy who, as we look out and we look forward, has the size but also the speed to deal with a lot of different situations on the floor."

Huestis appeared in 135 games, second-best in school history, while his 834 career rebounds are eighth on the all-time Cardinal list.

Huestis concluded his career averaging 7.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45.1 percent overall. As a senior, Huestis averaged 11.2 points and a team-best 8.2 rebounds with seven double-doubles.

Powell became the sixth player in school history to be chosen in the second round, joining Fields, Jarron Collins (2001, Utah Jazz), Tim Young (1999, Golden State Warriors), Kimberly Belton (1980, Phoenix Suns) and Arthur Harris (1968, Seattle Supersonics).

The 31st NBA Draft choice in program history, Powell joins Fields and Huestis as Cardinal draft picks during head coach Johnny Dawkins' six-year tenure.

The school record holder for games played (136), Powell finished his four-year career averaging 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds while shooting 46.4 percent overall.

A dynamic all-around player, Powell concluded his time on The Farm also ranking seventh in blocks (118), ninth in steals (125) and 18th in assists (240).

A two-time All-Pac-12 First Team honoree, Powell averaged at least 14.0 points in each of his final two seasons while starting every game.

After being named an NABC All-District Second Team selection and Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year as a junior, Powell was recognized as a Preseason Wooden Award candidate entering his final season.

Leading Stanford to its fifth NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance in school history following upset of New Mexico and Kansas, Powell averaged 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 46.2 percent overall as a senior.

Embracing the role of an athletic 6-10 "point forward", Powell dished out a team-best 112 assists (3.1 per game) and led the club with 47 steals while notching seven double-doubles.

As a junior, Powell was the only Pac-12 player ranked among the league's top-10 in both scoring and rebounding, averaging a team-best 14.9 points while ranking second on the squad with 8.4 rebounds per game and reaching double figures in 27 contests.

Powell became one of three Stanford players over the last decade to register at least 10 double-doubles, joining Fields (13 in 2009-10) and Matt Haryasz (10 in 2005-06).

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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