Gradey Dick had Thursday night’s NBA draft in mind when he chose to play for the University of Kansas.
Yes, he grew up going to games at Allen Fieldhouse and considered Kansas his “dream school.” But he also knew playing for such a prestigious program, with its long history of sending players to the NBA, would help prepare him for success in the pros.
“When you’re at a place like that, it definitely puts a target on your back in a way but also gets you prepared for that next level, and that’s exactly what went into my choice to make that decision to go there,” Dick said in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
And apparently, his decision to play his only collegiate season at Kansas will soon pay off. The Athletic, The Ringer and ESPN all consider the 6-foot-8 wing as one of the top 16 prospects available in Thursday night’s draft. Most mock drafts have him being selected near the end of the lottery (first 14 picks).
Arguably the best shooter in the draft, Dick shot 40.3% from 3-point range in his one year at Kansas and was second on the team in scoring at 14.1 points per game. He was also third on the team in rebounding (5.1 per game) and third in steals (1.4 per game).
Wearing a cross necklace, Dick relayed a message of gratitude to Jayhawks fans on Twitter early on Thursday morning.
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) June 22, 2023
Last season’s Kansas squad went 28-8 overall, won the Big 12 regular-season title and earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to Arkansas in the second round.
Before arriving in Lawrence, Dick attended Sunrise Christian Academy, a faith-based prep basketball powerhouse. He has consistently given glory to God throughout his basketball journey.
In an interview last fall with SLAM Magazine, Dick explained that his goal is ultimately glorify the Lord with the talents and abilities God has given him.
“I was given, fortunately, all these blessings in my life, and that’s kind of my hand, and I’m trying to do the best I can do with it and glorify God while I’m doing it,” he said.
Dick’s social media post announcing his decision to enter the NBA draft began with him thanking God, and the caption he included read, “All Glory to God.”
“First and foremost, none of this would be possible without God,” he wrote. “I also wouldn’t be in this position without the help from my coaches, teachers, friends, and most importantly, my family.”
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Dick understands everything he has is a gift from God, and as such is prepared to embrace and be thankful for whatever role he finds himself in during his rookie season. He told Stadium’s Shams Charania in an interview earlier this month that he simply wants to help the team that drafts him however he can.
“I’m going to go into any organization, any city, and really just buy into the team,” Dick said. “I’m the type of player where I honestly don’t care what my role is. If they give me the role and they tell me what to do, I’m just going to go there and try to perfect it as best I can. I’ve never been the player to kind of, you know, play bigger than myself.”
Potential lottery pick Gradey Dick sits down with @Stadium: “I love (the crowd), the excitement and people are focused on me…That makes it a whole lot sweeter when I beat their team.” On Kansas, sibling rivalries, player role models like Paul George, and much more. pic.twitter.com/Pq9ugryRCm
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 19, 2023
If he is selected in the first 13 picks on Thursday night, Dick will be the highest-drafted Jayhawk since Josh Jackson was taken fourth overall in 2017. The 2023 NBA Draft begins at 8 p.m. ET from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
– Gradey Dick playing key role for No. 4 Kansas as he aims ‘to make Him proud’
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