Bol Bol, ESPN’s No. 4 high school recruit in 2018, is heading to the Mile High City.
Despite entering the 2019 NBA Draft without a draft pick, Tim Connelly delivered on his promise to be active on Thursday night as the Denver Nuggets’ President of Basketball Operations acquired the No. 44 pick from the Miami Heat in a trade for a future second round pick and cash considerations.
"We're fortunate to add another young piece, a guy we think highly of," Connelly said after the draft. "We think his skillset [and] his pedigree, who he is as a guy, will fit in well in the locker room. We started the night with no draft picks and we left with a guy who we think has a real chance to be impactful down the road.
Bol was an elite talent for Oregon prior to suffering an injury to his left foot on Dec. 12, 2018, ending his collegiate career. The 19-year-old averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in his nine appearances for the Ducks. At 7-foot-2, the Sudanese-American center also has displayed remarkable range as he shot 52 percent from 3-point range.
"My game is pretty unique because for my size, I can dribble pretty well, can shoot from anywhere pretty well, and my passing is pretty good," Bol said in a conference call. "I can just do a lot of things that people my size can't do."
Bol was expected to be a first round pick prior to the draft, but injury concerns appeared to affect his stock as he slipped into the second round. Connelly is appreciative of an opportunity to add a unique prospect late in the draft.
We're not concerned as to why he fell, we feel very fortunate that he fell [to us]," Connelly said. "As the night progressed, we got pretty aggressive. He was a guy that we circled much higher on the board. We didn't have him where we picked, we had him much much higher."
Although Bol expected to be drafted higher, he's enthusiastic to be joining a Nuggets team that is expected to contend after a strong 2018-19 campaign.
"Towards the end of the season, I started watching a lot of Jokic highlights because of his great passing ability, and that's something I want to add to my game," Bol said. "I watched a lot of his highlights and he's a great, great player. The Nuggets were a great team last season and I'm excited to be a part of the team."
He added, "Because of how great the team is, that will help me because [I'll have] great players around me and the great organization. I think that will also help me become a better player."
Bol also had a storied high school career. The 19-year-old native of Khartoum, Sudan, attended Findley Prep High School and averaged 20.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. The five-star recruit was tapped to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoops Summit as a senior in 2018.
He is the son of former NBA player the late Manute Bol, who had an 11-year career in the league and led it in blocked shots twice (1986, 1989).
"My plan is to hopefully play this season, but it's up to my team and if they want me to focus on getting stronger, that's fine with me," Bol said.