STANFORD, Calif.- Senior Josh Huestis was selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Huestis, who was the 29th overall pick, is the first Cardinal player selected in the NBA Draft since Landry Fields was taken 39th overall in the second round by the New York Knicks in 2010.
A native of Great Falls, Mt., Huestis becomes the 12th player in school history to be chosen in the first round and first since 2008, when Brook Lopez (No. 10, New Jersey) and Robin Lopez (No. 15, Phoenix) were selected.
The 30th NBA Draft choice in program history, Huestis joins Fields as Cardinal draft picks during head coach Johnny Dawkins’ six-year tenure.
Stanford has now totaled 10 NBA Draft selections since 2000, fourth-best behind UCLA (20), Arizona (17) and Washington (10) among Pac-12 schools.
Huestis was the guy who helped shut down Andrew Wiggins in the NCAA tournament. Tough, physical, athletic defender.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 27, 2014
A three-time Pac-12 Defensive Team selection, Huestis established a school record with 190 career blocks, quite an accomplishment for a player who stands only 6-7. Huestis competed in 135 career games, ranking second-best in school history while his 834 career rebounds are good for eighth on the all-time Cardinal list.
Huestis concluded his career averaging 7.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45.1 percent overall. As a senior, Huestis averaged 11.2 points and a team-best 8.2 rebounds with seven double-doubles while making all 36 starts and leading Stanford to its fifth NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in school history and a 23-13 overall record.
Josh Huestis has one of the best stories in the draft. Adopted by a family in Montana. Ended up at Stanford. Great defender. OKC style guy.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 27, 2014
In Stanford’s 80-59 rout of USC on Feb. 20 of his senior campaign, Huestis hauled down a career-high 18 rebounds and also became the school’s all-time leading shot-blocker. Huestis tallied three blocks in the game to surpass the previous career record of 167 established by Tim Young (1994-99). Huestis’ record-breaking block came with 18:08 left in the second half, swatting a layup try from Strahinja Gavrilovic. At 6-7, Huestis is nearly six inches shorter than seven-footers Tim Young (167 - 2nd), Robin Lopez (156 - 3rd) and Curtis Borchardt (146 - 4th). Huestis did the bulk of his damage in essentially three years, totaling 69 blocks as a senior, 71 as a junior and 43 as a sophomore.
As a junior, Huestis averaged 10.5 points and a team-best 9.0 rebounds per game while producing nine double-doubles in 34 starts. He shot 46.0 percent from the field and connected on 26 three-pointers, displaying an ability to convert from the perimeter.
During his sophomore year in 2011, Huestis averaged 5.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Huestis appeared in 37 games, making five starts while committing only 27 turnovers in 742 minutes.
Huestis participated in 28 games as a reserve during his rookie season, averaging 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds.
The transition from key reserve to significant contributor is a perfect example of Huestis’ work ethic. Regarded as one of the team’s hardest workers, Huestis earned the team’s Most Improved Player award for three consecutive seasons.
JUMPING UP AND DOWN WITH JOY! Congrats @jhuestis to OKC!! Love you man!— Chiney Ogwumike (@Chiney321) June 27, 2014
Asked about Huestis’ work ethic, head coach Johnny Dawkins offered the following: “Josh defined himself by competing and playing hard on every possession. He transformed himself from a 6-7 center from Montana into a dynamic threat in the post and on the perimeter. Josh affected numerous games with his defense and shot-blocking abilities.”
A Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention pick as a sophomore, Huestis received his degree in psychology and took part in last weekend’s commencement ceremony. Boasting a 3.03 cumulative GPA, Huestis was also the recipient of the athletic department’s Jake Gimbel Award, given to the senior with the best competitive attitude.
Huestis’ brother, Christian Dean, played soccer at California and was selected third overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps in this year’s MLS Draft.