NBA-champion Raptors take Miami C Hernandez with 59th pick

June 21, 2019

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors selected center Dewan Hernandez from the University of Miami with the 59th pick in Thursday's NBA draft.

The 6-foot-11 Hernandez sat out this season because of his dealings with an agent. Facing additional punishment next season, the junior from Miami turned pro instead.

The NCAA said Hernandez agreed to receive monthly payments from the agent and accepted other benefits. Hernandez sat out the first 19 games of the season while awaiting the Jan. 28 ruling.

Known previously as Dewan Huell, Hernandez played 32 games for the Hurricanes in 2017-18 season, averaging 11.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. A three-time state championship at Miami Norland High School, he changed his surname last October to honor his mother.

In September 2016, Hernandez was arrested at Florida International University and charged with misdemeanor battery. Police said he attacked someone who had been in his ex-girlfriend's dorm room.

The Raptors did not comment on the selection. General manager Bobby Webster is scheduled to address the media Friday morning.

Fresh off winning their first NBA title one week ago, the Raptors were drafting for the first time since 2017.

Toronto traded its first round pick in this year's draft to San Antonio as part of last summer's deal that brought Kawhi Leonard north of the border. Leonard is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent.

Last week's six-game triumph over Golden State made Toronto the NBA's first champion without a draft lottery pick on its postseason roster. Toronto had two lottery picks earlier this season in centers Jonas Valanciunas and Greg Monroe, but both were traded at the deadline.

Finals MVP Leonard, drafted 15th by the Pacers in 2011, was Toronto's highest-drafted player. Guard Fred VanVleet went undrafted in 2016 but earned a vote for finals MVP, denying Leonard a unanimous selection.

Leonard wasn't paying too much attention to this year's draft. Instead, the two-way star took in a few innings of Thursday's Toronto Blue Jays game against the Los Angeles Angels. Accompanied by his girlfriend and a Raptors executive, Leonard sat in the front row right next to the home dugout.

The Raptors had gone both big and international with their previous three picks. Cameroonian forward Pascal Siakam, the favorite for Most Improved Player honors, was picked 27th in 2016, 18 places behind Austrian center Jakob Poeltl. Toronto later sent DeMar DeRozan, Poeltl, and this year's first round pick to the Spurs for Leonard and guard Danny Green.

The Raptors took forward OG Anunoby, born in England to Nigerian parents, with the 23rd pick in 2017.

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