Denton: O'Quinn Impresses Magic, Gets Contract
By John Denton
August 9, 2012
ORLANDO – Just as Kyle O’Quinn used a dominant performance in the NCAA Tournament to get recognized by pro scouts before the NBA Draft, he capitalized on a week of summer league action to land himself a contract with the Orlando Magic.
The 6-foot-10, 240-pound center/power forward signed a contract with the Magic on Thursday that means he will be in training camp with the team in October and likely with the squad throughout the 2012-13 season.
That is quite an accomplishment already for O’Quinn, who had no NBA guarantees after being selected in the second round of the NBA Draft in June. Impressed with O’Quinn’s basketball smarts and rapidly improving game, the Magic selected O’Quinn with the 49th pick of the June NBA Draft.
O’Quinn, the 2012 Lou Henson recipient as the nation’s top mid-major player at Norfolk State University, further impressed Magic coaches and staffers with his aggressive and steady play during the AirTran Orlando Pro Summer League. He picked up the Magic’s team concepts quickly and easily adapted to the speed and athleticism of the NBA game in summer league play. He averaged 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds in five summer league games and his best performance came when he outplayed Detroit’s Andre Drummond, the No. 8 pick in the NBA Draft.
The clutch performance in the Summer League was similar to what O’Quinn did in the NCAA Tournament when he almost single-handedly helped Norfolk State upset second-seeded Missouri in first-round play. He had 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots that day in a performance that caught the eyes of several NBA scouts, including those from the Magic.
Even now, O’Quinn knows that performance changed his life and made him a candidate to play in the NBA.
``It increased my profile tremendously. I went from nobody to somebody in a matter of seconds,’’ O’Quinn said recently. ``In the first half, if I would have had my phone in my hand, I probably could have seen the Twitter followers coming in one after another. To have that kind of performance and my name being the focal point of that game, it put my name out there and took me from being a nobody to a somebody in the basketball world.’’
Magic GM Rob Hennigan came away very impressed with O’Quinn following the Summer League. He said that the center has a chance to stick in the NBA for several years because of his willingness to do the dirty work such as rebounding and playing defense and his ability to play team basketball. O’Quinn has said he’ll stick true to his roots as a player with the Magic and bring some hustle and muscle to the squad.
``This puts a stamp on everything that I’ve done. For my family to be a part of this, it is a great moment for us,’’ O’Quinn said on draft night of the hard work he’s put into becoming a NBA player. ``I’m an energy guy. I rebound, defend, block shots and compete. As far as going into the NBA, I know that I have to develop my offensive game. But I’m an energy guy first and that’s what I will bring to the Magic.’’
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