The NBA dream of Perth Wildcats star Luke Travers has come true with the 20-year-old Rockingham player selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as pick 56 in Friday’s draft.
Travers went from being an underdog in NBA circles to a team pick after an impressive season with the Wildcats.
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He had already shown maturity beyond his years by being thrown into the starting five while still a development player in 2021. But he hit another level last season, playing in multiple positions, improving his three-point shot, showing off his athleticism at the rim and also impressive as a point guard.
Travers moved to the United States at the end of the NBL season and spent seven weeks traveling the country meeting with teams. He trained in front of eight teams and was also invited to the G-League Elite Camp.
Travers watched the draft from Los Angeles and had to wait four and a half hours, but he is now an NBA player.
Rockingham Flames coach Ryan Petrik said it was an amazing day for WA basketball.
“It’s a big day for the state and the club,” said Petrik.
“It’s amazing for anyone to go from national juniors of a state league club to pros. There’s a lot of people who have been involved in this and a lot of god kids who have played.
“I remember talking about him with NBA scouts years ago. He was so young and athletic and long. We knew whoever he put on size, people couldn’t stop him. The men at the state league level couldn’t stop him at 17, so we knew what would happen once he was done.
The New Orleans Pelicans selected Travers’ American roommate, Australian Dyson Daniels, as the eighth pick. He played for G-League Ignite and his defensive work and play quickly turned him into a top-10 pick.
Daniels grew up in Bendigo, Country Victoria. He followed in the footsteps of another Victorian, Josh Giddey, who was a top-10 draft pick last season.
The New York Knicks have selected Frenchman Ousmane Dieng as the 11th pick following his strong NBL season for the New Zealand Breakers.
But the Knicks immediately traded Dieng to the Oklahoma City Thunder where he will play alongside Giddey.
Another Breaker, Hugo Besson, was the last player selected. He will play for the Indiana Pacers.