The Orlando Magic officially introduced Mario Hezonja and Tyler Harvey to the City Beautiful this afternoon. Hezonja and Harvey are ready to go, ready to be teammates in the Samsung NBA Summer League 2015.
Around the water cooler, you might hear that the Magic picked two nobodies in a draft full of somebodies. Since The Benchwarmers want you to be the smartest tool in the shed, here are the five things cool kids need to know about the Magic’s two draft picks:
- The 20-year-old first seriously thought about playing in the NBA three years ago. “When I finished (playing) with Croatia I was thinking really about the NBA already at that age, I was 17 turning 18.”
- He began playing basketball professionally at age 11.
- His move to Orlando marks just the second time Hezonja has been in the United States. The first was for the 2011 Jordan Brand Classic in Charlotte, NC – where he scored 15 points in the International Game.
- Having spent the last three seasons playing in Barcelona, Hezonja speaks fluent Spanish.
- He does not have a favorite NBA player, nor one particular player he looks up to. “There is no bad player in the NBA so you look up to everybody.”
- Received ZERO scholarship offers for college. He enrolled at Eastern Washington University and walked on to the team. Three years later, he led the nation in scoring at 23.1 ppg. “My story is a little different than everybody else’s, but it seemed to work out in the end.”
- His dad is Frank Harvey, who is a veteran NCAA D1 men’s basketball referee. Tyler credits his Dad with his exposure to hoops as a young child, “I’ve been watching the game since I was three or four years old, right there live, up close.”
- His Dad ran into his eventual college coach, Jim Hayford, in an airport on his way home from officiating a game. Dad gave the coach the sales pitch on his son and Hayford agreed to take a look at him. “He was so skinny,” Hayford said. “He looked like a long-distance runner for the Kenyan national team. He was awkward and needed to grow into his height.”
- Had five international teammates at Eastern Washington including one who is from Serbia.
- Studies Stephen Curry’s game, and has been compared to Curry and Reggie Miller. “My ability to shoot the ball is the key to my game. Working hard, that’s what I was taught at a young age .”