June 23, 2011
UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - Richmond senior forward Justin Harper was selected as the 32nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Orlando Magic traded for the 6-foot-10, 225-pound Richmond native later Thursday evening.
Orlando only had one of the 60 picks in the 2011 NBA Draft and that selection was not coming until 53, but the Magic clearly made Harper there man by offering Cleveland two future picks for his rights.
"You don't do a trade unless the guy you like (is there)," President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Otis Smith said. "There were two guys we liked and the guy (Harper) happened to be the top of the two, so it's a good value pick."
Orlando finished 52-30 in 2010-11, making the playoffs, where the Magic lost to Atlanta 4-2.
"Justin is one of those guys that is a combo can play 3, can play 4, can shoot ball really well," Smith said. "He has good feet, good hands, he's a good rebounder. I think he'll fit in with our guys real well."
Harper averaged 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds as a senior in leading the Spiders to a school-record 29 wins, the Atlantic 10 Championship and an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.
"This is probably the best feeling I've felt to this point, besides graduating from college," Harper said. "This is like your dream coming true right in front of your face."
Harper was the second highest player selected in school history, behind Johnny Newman who was the 29th pick in the 1986 NBA Draft. Newman played 17 seasons in the NBA.