PC’s Kris Dunn Goes to Minnesota as 5th Pick in the Draft, Ben Bentil Goes to Celts with 51st Selection

AP Basketball Writer=
       MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ The Minnesota Timberwolves selected Providence point guard Kris Dunn with the fifth overall draft pick Thursday night. Whether he remains in Minnesota remains to be seen.

        The Wolves were engaged in several trade discussions with teams who were eager to get the defensive stopper.

        The Philadelphia 76ers offered the Timberwolves Nerlens Noel, Robert Covington and the Nos. 24 and 26 picks for Dunn, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the teams were not publicly discussing trade proposals.

        The Sixers offered the same package to Boston at No. 3 to try to pair Dunn with No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons, and the Wolves were also looking hard at trying to get Chicago’s Jimmy Butler.

        New Timberwolves coach and president Tom Thibodeau coached Butler in Chicago and loves his defensive tenacity and offensive aggressiveness.
        If the Wolves keep Dunn, his defensive mindset would be a perfect fit for Thibodeau.

        Dunn said before the draft he would love to play for Thibodeau, believing their hard-working personalities would mesh well on a team with a promising young core that includes Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine.

        But if he does stay, it could mean the end of the line for Ricky Rubio in Minnesota. Rubio has spent five years with the Timberwolves and is coming off of his best season as a pro. But the Spaniard plays the same position as Dunn, who may not want to come off the bench for long.

        As good as Dunn is, Thibodeau and owner Glen Taylor are determined to make the playoffs next season, ending the franchise’s 12-year drought.
        With a team full of youngsters, the Wolves are looking for established veterans to make that happen. And it could be difficult to do that with a rookie starting at point guard.

        That Dunn was even available at No. 5 was something of a surprise. Internally, the Wolves expected Dunn to be long gone by the time they came on the clock and were looking at Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and Kentucky’s Jamal Murray to join the backcourt. But Boston rejected Philadelphia’s offers for the No. 3 pick and chose Jaylen Brown out of Cal, opening the door for Dunn to slide.

PC news release…

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Thursday, June 23, 2016 was a historic night for the Providence College men’s basketball program.  Former Friars guard Kris Dunn (New London, Conn.) and forward Ben Bentil (Wilmington, Del.) were selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. Dunn became the highest Friar selected in the NBA Draft since Marvin Barnes was picked second overall in the 1974 Draft. 

Dunn was selected fifth by the Minnesota Timberwolves, which also marked the fourth highest a Friar has been drafted all-time (Jimmy Walker, No. 1, 1967; Marvin Barnes, No. 2, 1974; and Ernie DiGregorio, No. 3, 1973). He also is the 11th Friar all-time to be drafted in the First Round of the NBA Draft. 

Adding to the historic night, Ben Bentil was selected 51st in the second round by the Boston Celtics, which marked the first time two Providence players were selected in the NBA Draft in the same year since 1997 when Austin Croshere (first round, 12th) and God Shammgod (second round, 46th) were both picked.  It is 10th time Providence College has had two or more players selected for the NBA Draft in the same season.

“Providence and New London are my home,” Dunn said. “Both those cities have been such big part of my life.  I will never forget what it means to be a Friar and all the great fans in Friartown. I am looking forward to this next step in my career and playing for the fans in Minneapolis.”

Providence College now has had 43 players drafted into the NBA. Entering the night, the most recent Friar drafted was Ricky Ledo, who was selected in the second round (No. 43) in 2013 by the Milwaukee Bucks. Marshon Brooks had been the most recent first round selection as he was drafted in the 25th spot by the Boston Celtics in 2011

“This is a very special night for Kris, Ben and Providence College,” Providence Head Coach Ed Cooley said. “Kris and Ben have grown so much over the last several years and did so much to help move our program forward.  I hope all Friar fans feel a great since of pride as this is a great night. I believe both of them will have long and productive careers in the NBA.