HALFMOON — Kevin Huerter is ready to find out where his basketball journey takes him next.
A 2016 Shenendehowa High School graduate, Huerter is expected to be a first-round selection in Thursday’s NBA draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The draft starts at 7 p.m. and ESPN will carry live coverage of the two-round event.
Huerter, 19, played two seasons for the University of Maryland after starring at Shenendehowa. In his four-year career with the Plainsmen, Huerter led the school to a state championship in 2015 before sweeping the state’s player of the year honors in 2016.
Huerter won’t attend the draft in person, but did receive an invite from the league. Instead, Huerter will watch the draft with family and friends.
Before the draft starts, here are five things to know.
Teams to watch
There are a range of franchises interested in selecting Huerter.
Seemingly, the earliest Huerter could go in the draft is to the Los Angeles Clippers, who own the Nos. 12 and 13 picks. After those back-to-back picks, Huerter has been linked to each team selecting from Nos. 17 to 21; those teams, in order, are the Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz.
It has been reported the Los Angeles Lakers have promised to take Huerter with the No. 25 pick. Promises, though, aren’t binding — and there is also little reason to believe Huerter will be available for the Lakers to take at No. 25.
Huerter conducted private workouts for the Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Lakers.
First-round picks are guaranteed a contract for two seasons, and a scale based on where a player is selected determines his annual salary.
Per spotrac.com, full scale value for this year’s first pick is $5,269,700 and it is $1,045,900 for the first round’s final pick.
Full scale at No. 12 is $2,069,500 and it’s $1,137,200 at No. 25.
Why teams like Huerter
When it comes to the draft and Huerter, this is the easiest part to figure out.
Huerter possesses many ideal qualities for a wing player in the modern NBA. He is one of the draft’s top long-range shooters and is capable of attacking off the dribble, while his athleticism and size will allow him to defend multiple positions.
Huerter, too, has strenuously worked to fill out his frame. The 19-year-old — he turns 20 later this summer — has gained 20 pounds since graduating from high school, and now packs 200 pounds onto a 6-foot-7 frame.
There has got to be one, right?
“There’s not,” Huerter said. “Honestly, growing up, it was just Siena basketball. I really never had an NBA team.”
Huerter’s father Tom played at Siena, while his older brother Thomas is now a rising junior for the Saints. From the professional ranks, Huerter said he is more of a general fan of the game.
“But I’ve always been a LeBron James fan, so I’ve followed his teams,” Huerter said. “When I was younger, I liked Chauncey Billups a lot, so I watched the Pistons with Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and all those guys.”
Through his college career and experience playing with USA Basketball, Huerter knows a large chunk of the other players expected to get drafted.
Notably, Huerter was a member of the USA Basketball Men’s U18 national team in 2016. That team included likely lottery selections such as Mo Bamba, Michael Porter Jr. and Trae Young.
Huerter said he will be interested to see where players he knows end up headed, but doesn’t see draft night as a competition. Instead, he said he is going to be happy each time another player sees his own dream realized with a selection.
“I just can’t wait to compete against them,” Huerter said, “and wherever I fall, I fall.”