On when he knew he would be selected by the Hawks and his feelings:
“I knew it was going to be Atlanta after San Antonio picked. My parents wanted it to be a surprise but I kind of wanted to know to get a little heads up. My agent slapped me on my shoulder behind me. I got the jitters a little bit waiting for those five minutes to go down for them to say my name but when Commissioner [Adam] Silver came out and finally said my name, there was a lot of relief.”
On how he will fit in Atlanta:
“They’re a young team with a new coach that are looking to be more successful in the years to come. Drafting us two [Huerter and Trae Young] is hopefully the right road to do that. I think there’s going to be a lot of hungry guys. A lot of guys that are ready to get better. The franchise is moving in the right direction and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
On the moment he was drafted and sharing it with his family and friends:
“It was crazy. It really felt that after you try to trace every single pick that every player that was picked there was kind of like an ‘ohhhh’ behind me. Waiting nine picks, once I got good advice, it was the longest nine picks, 45 minutes of my life. Every single team, you didn’t know if you were going to be called. When it finally did happen and they said my name, it was an unbelievable feeling. One of the best feelings I’ve ever had in my life. Just hearing that uproar of the people around me and the emotion of everyone that was there, my family especially. Everyone I grew up with sharing that with me, it was special.”
On if he met with Atlanta at the combine:
“Yeah, I met with Atlanta at the combine.”
On what Atlanta told him they liked about him:
“In my workout, for the most part I thought it went really well. I didn’t shoot it as well as I wanted to. One of their coaches told me that they know I can shoot it and you can’t show emotion. To not worry about the last shot and move on to the next one. Just even right there, it was kind of the first time I knew they believed in me. The rest of my workout was great. I talked with their Assistant GM when I was there and he said that he really liked my game. Athletic wings, guys that can play multiple positions and do different things both offensively and defensively. At the time I worked out with them they didn’t know who their coach was going to be. When I met with them in Atlanta they did have their coach so I was able to talk with everybody. Meeting with them twice, it was definitely a team I was comfortable with. To hear them call my name tonight, I couldn’t be happier.”
Was Atlanta the first team you tried out for? Or was that after the combine?
“That was the second team; I had done Boston before that. Then I did Atlanta right before the combine.”
In terms of the injury you have now, how does that affect your summer not being able to play summer league?
“I think right now with my hand it really just made the rest of my summer really busy. I think this would have been a time that I would have been working out every single day, getting ready for summer league with whatever team it would be, but it’s been frustrating not being able to play. I haven’t been able to play basketball the last three weeks. Eventually I’ll start shooting again, I still have a couple more [weeks] to go. When I’m finally going to be cleared I have to make up for the last month and a half that I missed. So after summer league I’ll be ready to start working hard.”
When was the last injury that kept you out for an extended period?
“I really have to go back…in fifth grade I broke my elbow. Other than a couple rolled ankles where you’re out for a couple days, this is the first time…well I got my tonsils out last summer so I was out two weeks for that. Really injury-wise, it was fifth grade when I was out for an extended period of time. Knock on wood, I’ve been so far pretty lucky with the injury bug. So it’s something that’s new territory for me, but I’m ready to get back.”
What made you decide to get the surgery?
“We knew what it was; it was a torn ligament in my hand. The original feedback we got was that I wanted to avoid surgery because it heals itself with time and rest. But with the timing of it with the combine and workouts I couldn’t rest it, I was still working out every single day. And then finally after I worked out with LA it didn’t feel right. It seemed like I got the feedback again that if it’s an injury you think about every time you step on the court and you’re aware of, then you need to get it looked at again. And every time I was stepping on the court it was bothering me. So I got a second opinion from a great doctor in New York and she recommended that I did need surgery or it wouldn’t heal properly and it would always be something that bothered me. So I saw her on a Monday, got surgery on a Tuesday and it’s been a couple weeks since.”
Have you had a chance to talk to Trae Young at all? How excited are you to play with a guy like that?
“I was actually on a team with Trae on the U-18 USA team when we played Chile for the FIBA Americas. Everyone knows Trae’s a dynamic scorer. He’s a kid who can put up big numbers really quick. Some of that especially offensively he’s really, really good. I’m expecting to obviously build a better relationship with him and get to know him a little bit more playing with him.”
What was it like to have Coach Turgeon and your teammates from Maryland with you tonight in Albany?
“It was great. I wanted to share this moment with the closest people around me – and that’s both at home and at Maryland. I didn’t have to convince anyone to come here, they all texted saying hey I’ll see you Thursday. So I’m glad they made it with the type of people that Coach Turgeon and Coach Clark and the five guys that came to see me are. I’m glad Coach Turgeon has been there every step of the way.”