Bol slides to Heat at No. 44, traded to Nuggets


Bol Bol‘s fall in Thursday night’s NBA draft finally ended midway through the second round.

The 7-foot-2 center out of Oregon, at one point considered a top-five pick, instead went 44th overall to the Miami Heat, who have agreed to trade the pick to the Denver Nuggets.

Bol was one of 22 players invited to the green room for the draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but he was seen leaving his seat before returning just before deputy commissioner Mark Tatum announced the pick.

“The wait is over,” he told ESPN’s Maria Taylor after the selection.

“I just want to prove everyone wrong and come out and be the best player I can be,” he added.

After a strong start to the college basketball season, Bol was as high as No. 5 in a mock draft by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony in November. In Givony’s last mock before Thursday’s draft tipped off, he was projected to go No. 20 overall to the Boston Celtics.

Questions about Bol’s effort and health apparently led to him slipping into non-guaranteed contract territory.

Bol played in nine games for Oregon before suffering an ankle injury in mid-December and an eventual stress fracture in his foot that would sideline him indefinitely and end his collegiate playing career.

The No. 4-ranked recruit in the 2018 ESPNU 100 rankings, Bol was the highest-rated player to sign with the Ducks in school history. When on the floor, he didn’t disappoint, leading the Ducks in points (21.0), rebounds (9.6), blocks (2.7) and three-point percentage (52.0).

The first son of former 7-foot-7 NBA center Manute Bol of Sudan, Bol Bol’s evolved game is highlighted by his versatility for his size and his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting.

Like his father, Bol Bol’s shot-blocking potential and timing in the key has also impressed scouts.

His standout performance came in a late November loss to Texas Southern, when he scored 32 points and had 11 rebounds.

Denver’s selection comes a year after it took a second straight rehab project — Michael Porter Jr. (back) out of Missouri.

“I’ve been dreaming of this my whole life, and it feels pretty good,” Bol said.

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