BROOKLYN, N.Y.—University of Pittsburgh freshman Steven Adams (Rotorua, New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep, Mass.) was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with the No. 12 pick in Thursday evening's 2013 NBA Draft. An NBA lottery pick, Adams becomes the first Pitt player drafted in the first round since the Indiana Pacers selected Vonteego Cummings at No. 26 in 1999. His selection at No. 12 marks the second highest NBA Draft pick for a Pitt player behind Charles Smith, who was taken at No. 3 in 1988.
Adams, who was joined at the Barclays Center by Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon, was called to the stage at approximately 8:49 p.m. ET. He was handed an Oklahoma City Thunder hat, then proceeded to the stage for a photo opportunity with outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern. He then conducted a live ESPN interview with Shane Battier, where viewers saw his jacket featuring a New Zealand flag.
The 7-foot, 250-pound Adams becomes the seventh Pitt player selected in either the NBA or ABA Draft First Round and the 28th overall Panthers player taken in a professional basketball draft. He is the second New Zealand native to be selected in the NBA Draft and the first-ever Kiwi to be picked in the first round. Adams will become only the fourth New Zealand born player to have played in the NBA, joining Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs), Sean Marks (Miami Heat, New Orleans Hornets, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers) and Kirk Penney (Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat).
A Big East All-Rookie Team selection, Adams led the 2012-13 Panthers in blocked shots (65), rebounding (6.3 rpg.) and field goal percentage (.571), and also contributed 7.2 points per game. While starting all 32 of his games played in 2012-13, Adams totaled two double-doubles, six double figure scoring games and five 10-plus rebound games. He concluded his freshman season ranked among school freshman leaders in several statistical categories including games started (2nd), field goal percentage (1st), rebounds (6th), rebound average (7th), percentage of starts (1st), blocked shots (2nd) and blocked shots average (3rd).
During his one-year stint, Adams helped guide Pitt to a fourth place Big East finish with a 12-6 conference record and a 24-9 overall record. The "Kiwi Phenom" also helped Pitt qualify for its 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 12 seasons. Pitt is one of only seven schools to advance to the NCAA Tournament in 11 of the last 12 seasons.